I look back and it is hard to believe I used to eat meat, dairy and eggs, but I came from a big meat eating family and roast lamb and chicken, was the norm. I hate to say that I would eat offal, tripe, black pudding, cow heel (some people may not of heard of this, but the name says it all). My mum would press her own tongues and make brawn for sandwiches, just the thought of which, turns my stomach now.
So what changed well I watched a TV programme in 1986 about BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) better known as Mad Cow Disease. I was horrified, as it showed animal parts being ground up and made into cow fodder, its not rocket science to know that cows are vegetarians. I dropped all flesh immediately, carrying on eating dairy and eggs for a few months, though I hated milk at school and research about the dairy industry, left me with a growing conscience.
I distinctly remember 'My Epiphany', sitting one morning, dipping my toast soldier into a boiled egg, the yolk running down the side, I felt physically sick and nearly gagged. I am an all or nothing girl and went from smoking over forty cigarettes a day and Hamlet cigars to zero, so deciding to cut out all animal products out of my life, was an easy decision. It took time obviously, what to do about those non vegan items in the wardrobe and stocking the kitchen cupboards. With no internet, nothing like the vegan products in supermarkets we have these days, only in health food shops, I would bulk buy from a local co-operative.
Family and friends thought I had gone completely bonkers, that it was a phase I was going through, a fad, attention seeking, you name it, I got it thrown at me, sure some of this will resonate with others reading this blog.
The Vegan Society's Animal Free Shopper was my bible, I read it from cover to cover every edition, it went everywhere with me and was my saviour especially when I was getting used to animal derivatives or E numbers in food, or finding vegan friendly cosmetics, shampoos and the like.
The rest as they say is history and nearly thirty years later, veganism has never been as popular, vegan products galore in supermarkets and dining out is so much easier. And that is how my blog came about, in the old days dining out was probably the hardest part of being vegan and the offerings pretty dire. My mission is to improve vegan options and encourage restaurants, pubs and cafes to include more vegan dishes on their menus.
My blog is purely to review dining out experiences, to show other vegans that we can and should expect decent, imaginative and delicious food and not be fobbed off with crap and to share my favourite recipes and products.
The only regrets are not going vegan sooner and eating all those awful animal products in the first place and not making a note of the exact date I ate that boiled egg, so what better date to celebrate my vegan anniversary than World Vegan Day the 1st November.