Janet aka VeganOlive1 has been a vegan for nearly 30 years
20 July 2016
Who are you and what do you?
My Twitter name is VeganOlive1 otherwise known as Janet and I retired from work awhile go, after being self employed for 20 years, prior to that I worked for a bank. I now write a blog veganolive1.blogspot.co.uk about all things vegan whether it be dining out, products, wines and recipes to show others that being vegan is normal.
How long have you been eating plant based foods and what made you get into plant foods?
I went vegetarian in the mid 80’s after watching a programme about BSE, but only for about six months. After researching animal farming practices and the dairy industry, I went vegan immediately, I never made a note of the exact date, so decided on the anniversary as World Vegan Day, so on 1st November this year it will be 30 years as a vegan. It was a very awkward period initially because my family are all meat orientated and I was considered radical, going through a phase and difficult and of course the products available then were very limited and no Internet to find things out, I do wonder how I managed! My family took is so badly, that my mother stopped inviting me round for meals.
“Don’t be scared of taking that step to veganism, its so easy these days, its a lifestyle change and one that is healthier and benefits all”
Do you like making food and what are your favourite foods?
I LOVE cooking, as my blog and Twitter feed show, I spend much of my time in the kitchen trying new things. I was diagnosed with allergies about eighteen months ago, to many staples of a vegan diet like some pulses, soya, sunflower and poppy seeds, but I look on this as a positive thing, as it has made me much more inventive and creative. I now seek alternatives such as coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and also make nearly all things from scratch like vegetable stock powder, pesto’s, sauces, sausages, burgers, soups and bread. My favourite foods are anything Italian, so pasta, pizza, risotto, bruschetta or simple salads like Panzanella. I love Mexican like tacos or tortillas with guacamole and loads of chilli and I am just getting into Vietnamese food like rice paper rolls and stir fries.
Pizza made using my favourite ingredient (chickpea flour)
Describe your day with plant foods.
The first thing I think about when I get up, is what are we eating today, starting with breakfast, whether porridge, or cereals or toast with almond butter or a homemade raw bar, with a glass of almond milk and a banana. Lunch could be baked potato with some kind of filling, sandwich or bruschetta or soup. I tell my husband we are having one thing for dinner most nights, but when dinner time arrives a completely different dish has been created. I look in the fridge, check out recipes in my recipe books, or recipes I have cut out of the paper and if an ingredient is missing, I will tweak the recipe to suit. So its a case of Ready, Steady, Cook nearly every night.
What’s your favourite kitchen tool/gadget?
My food processor, could not manage without it.
What one food could you not live without and which food do you miss the most since switching to plant based foods?
I can honestly say I don’t miss any foods from my pre-vegan days, not one, I love what I eat now. I could not live without chickpea flour (otherwise known as besan or gram flour), I use it in batters, omelettes, gluten free pizza bases, to bind things when eggs are required, bread, cakes.
What do you consider the most important foods in your diet and why?
That’s a tricky one, because a healthy diet of any kind involves a variety of foods, so I always ensure I eat plenty wholegrains, protein based foods like beans, nuts and seeds (ones I can eat obviously), dried fruits like dates and raisins and tons of fruit and vegetables
Would you say you look and feel more healthy?
Definitely, I have had various medical checks in the past and consultants/doctors have said that my vegan diet is paying me dividends. Bone scans have shown I have healthy bones, blood pressure and cholesterol are fine and iron levels just short of the maximum level that doctors were looking for, this they did find surprising, they presumed I would be anaemic! People comment on my skin and my hairdresser, on every visit, comments how healthy my hair is, hardly any greys and shiny. I feel and look healthy and amazingly enough I have gained two stone in weight to when I was a meat-eater. I weight lift and walk about 20-25 miles a week. The saying is ‘You Are What You Eat’….I truly believe that.
How has eating plant foods changed you?
Initially it made me more aware of food production, animal cruelty, environmental and climate change issues, un-necessary miles that food travels, food waste, the list goes on…… and grows all the time.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting into plant based foods?
Don’t be scared of taking that step to veganism, its so easy these days, its a lifestyle change and one that is healthier and benefits all.