Top Tips for Making Change When it All Seems Too Hard

HOW TO MAKE CHANGE WHEN IT ALL SEEMS TOO HARD.png

“I really wish I could go vegan but it’s so hard to keep it up! I don’t know what to make for dinner and I’ve run out of inspiration by Tuesday.”

“I so want to eat plant-based, but I just don’t know what I’d eat for work lunches everyday. And what about our trip to China next year? And there’s this traditional Polish thing my mum always makes at Christmas.”

“I tried going vegan but every time we’d get to Friday nights and end up getting fish and chips. I can’t resist so I just gave up trying.”

These are actual things that my actual clients have said to me. Over and over again. 

I love you guys. But collectively, you’re all making the same mistake. You’re trying to go too vegan too fast, y’all, and you’re letting the pressure of commitment get all up in your head.

My mum went vegan overnight—she’s my hero. She’s also the kind of person who will move cities, change jobs or start a new adventure at the drop of a hat. That’s an amazing kind of person to be, but most people don’t handle change at that rate.

Most of us have face time with food at least three times a day, and most of us have major emotional baggage attached. Food is tied to memories, culture and traditions. We build social interactions around it. We’ve been conditioned to associate it with punishment and rewards. Changing your entire system of eating overnight is a big deal, and it’s okay if you find it hard to do.

But don’t let that get in your head! When my clients come to me to make a change, I help them to make slow, sustainable changes based on their personal strengths and weaknesses. We start with the easiest change first and let the others sneak up on them so they don’t notice. 

Here are my top tips for trying to go plant-based when it all seems too hard:

1. Make the easiest changes first

“I would love to go vegan, but I’d just miss ______ too much.” “I like eating vegan at home, but my friends and family don’t cater for me.” “Vegan breakfasts are simple, but I never know what to make for lunch and dinner.” 

Okay, cool. It’s easy to get caught up on the changes that are hard. What about the changes that are easy? 

Are you just as happy drinking plant milk as cow’s milk? Does your pasta taste just as good without the cheese? Sounds like you could stop buying dairy without breaking a sweat.

Do you love smashed avo for brunch just as much as you like the poached eggs or the salmon quiche? Great. Just make smashed avo your regular order when you go out with the girls.

If you always buy lunch when you’re at work, you only need to find one place that has one vegan option, and you’re set. If you’ll eat the snacks from your desk drawer no matter what they are, stock it with dried fruit, rice cakes and vegan muesli bars. If you order pizza with your partner every Friday night, figure out the vegan option—that’s one dinner a week you’ve gone vegan. (Even Domino’s has vegan cheese now, so no excuses here.) 

Some swaps will be harder to make. Start with the easy ones, and you’ll be a lot closer to being vegan!

2. Don’t be afraid of commitment

“What if I go overseas and want to try a local delicacy that isn’t vegan?” “How will I bake cakes for the kids’ birthdays?” “What am I going to eat at the work Christmas party?” “Could I possibly commit to NEVER EATING CHEESE AGAIN?”

Calm down. You don’t need to have a plan for every eventuality. When that special occasion/work trip/cheese craving comes up, you’ll deal with it then. If you want to try being vegan today, try being vegan today. And tomorrow. See if you can do it for a week. Or most of the time. Or sometimes.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the idea of commitment, and let it stop you from doing something good right now. Just eat vegan at your next meal. The rest of your life will take care of itself.

3. Just try it for 30 days

30 days is long enough for most people to get on board with a new way of doing things. Get some help, get a meal plan going and see it as a fun challenge. If you don’t like it after 30 days, you don’t have to keep doing it. 

Just for 30 days, try to push through those special occasions, family  meals and other times when vegan is a bit tricky. It’ll probably be way easier than you think, and so much more satisfying!

Vegan-curious but don’t know where to start? Through July and August 2018 you can nab a change-making session and a FREE copy of my vegan nutrition guide for just $60 (that’s over $100 value!) 

Spaces are EXTREMELY LIMITED so enquire now to get on the list

30 things I know after 30 years of being vegan

30 things i know after 30 years of being vegan.png

You guys! It's my thirtieth birthday. That means it's also my thirtieth anniversary of being vegan!

I know you didn't ask, but here's a list of 30 things I've figure out over the past 30 years, in no particular order:

  1. B12 deficiency is scary AF and the only reliable insurance against it is to take a supplement. 
     
  2. It’s impossible to live in the world without ever indirectly harming another living being, or using an animal by-product. Don’t be the kind of vegan who tells people their car tyres aren’t vegan. Figure out where your line is about be strong about sticking to it, but cut yourself (and other people) some slack. We are all doing the best we can. 
     
  3. Diffuse arguments by asking genuine questions. It’s hard for somebody to yell at you when you’re acting really interested in what they think.
     
  4. Don’t take any shit from baristas about soy milk. If your coffee curdled, that’s on them.
     
  5. The secret to a perfect vegan cake is vinegar.
     
  6. Every new vegan is on the quest for vegan cheese. Do you guys realise how weird you look to somebody who’s never eaten cheese? It’s a block of fat that you grate. Wut. Take it from me: life is good without cheese.
     
  7. Red and yellow lentils don’t need to be soaked before cooking. Green and brown ones do. Red lentils have the fastest cooking time, which is why I nearly always use those for making dhal.
     
  8. Sometimes your heart will hurt because the world isn’t vegan. Figure out what you need to do to cope in times like that. Meditate, hug an animal, take action, bake a vegan chocolate cake. Band together with other vegans. Don’t strike out in anger.
     
  9. In Australia it’s now a requirement that allergens are listed on wine, so if the bottle doesn’t have a warning about a non-vegan ingredient (like fish, egg or dairy products) it’s safe to assume it’s vegan. Many wines are labelled as vegan if you prefer to stick with those. If in doubt, check Barnivore.
     
  10. Avocado is frickin’ delicious but it’s not actually in any of the food groups. (No, it is NOT a green vegetable!) It’s a discretionary food that’s super high in fat. I classify it as a condiment and use it like one.
     
  11. All plant milks are not created equal - to each other, or to cows’ milk. Almond milk is delicious and I drink it every day, but nutrition-wise it’s basically water. Just because something LOOKS like milk doesn’t mean it works the same way. Let’s all learn to read nutrition panels and we’ll be happier, healthier vegans.
     
  12. Honey is not vegan. We decided this back in the early nineties and we’re not talking about it any more, okay?
     
  13. To make ‘cheesy’ sauce with nutritional yeast, the ratio is double the amount of water to yeast flakes. Add flour to thicken and seasoning to taste. I use 1 cup yeast flakes, 2 cups water, 3 tablespoons of flour (any kind) and 1 vegan stock cube.
     
  14. If you’d like to encourage your friends and family to go vegan, learn to cook at least one amazing signature vegan thing. It’s harder for people to argue when their mouth is full of vegan cheesecake. (If you would like the recipe, email me.)
     
  15. It’s a myth that eggs bind a cake. If you mix flour and water, you have glue. If your cake contains flour and liquid, it will bind. People always ask me what to put in a cake instead of eggs. The answer is nothing. Just make up for the volume of the eggs by adding a little extra liquid and fat.
     
  16. Silken tofu is softer than soft tofu. See my post about things to do with tofu.
     
  17. Yes, the liquid from a can of chickpeas whips like egg whites. Pick the chickpeas that don’t have any salt added though, or you will get weird salty chocolate mousse. (Speaking from experience.) 
     
  18. Basic ingredients can vary from country to country. So many Australian vegans believe that ‘soy is genetically modified’—but if it’s grown in Australia, it’s actually not. I had an American friend express surprise when I used ordinary sugar because in the States it’s not considered vegan (it’s fined through animal bone char) but this isn’t the case here. So when you’re reading websites from other countries, be aware of the source and check if the information is true for your location.
     
  19. You probably don’t eat enough vegies. Most Australian adults eat less than the recommended amount of vegetables for a two-year-old. Try doubling the amount of vegetables you eat in a day and see what happens.
     
  20. If you struggle to eat a kale salad, try chopping the kale finely and rubbing lemon juice into the leaves. Lemon juice reduces the bitterness and softens the raw leaves so they’re easier to eat. Tuscan kale (aka Cavolo Nero) has smaller, darker, softer leaves and is a lot easier to eat raw than the typical, bright green curly kale.
     
  21. Coconut is not a health food. It’s one of the only plant foods that contains significant amounts of saturated fat. Sorry, not sorry for pointing this out. (On the other hand, coconut oil is amazing on your skin and I always use it to take off my eye makeup. My rule is ‘put it on your face, not in your mouth’.) (I occasionally do put it in my mouth tho because it’s delicious.)
     
  22. The definitive ratios for making a vegan cake: 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda (or 1 tbsp baking powder), 2/3 cup sugar, 1 pinch salt, 1 1/2 cups liquid (plant milk or water), 2 tbsp vinegar (apple cider or white), 1/2 cup moisture (vegan margarine, oil or applesauce). Everything else I do is built on this. 
     
  23. ‘May contain traces of’ is an allergen warning, typically included because the product was manufactured in the same facility that also processes foods containing those ingredients. The official vegan ruling is that it’s fine to eat products that ‘may contain traces of’ milk or other animal ingredients—it’s just a disclaimer in case you have a deathly allergic reaction.
     
  24. Just because you’re a vegan doesn’t give people a free pass to be rude to you. One time (as an adult) I found myself with a bunch of women standing around me in a circle, watching me eat and firing questions about my vegan lunch. Eventually I said, “Hey guys, I’m totally happy to talk to you about being vegan but I was brought up to think it’s rude to ask somebody a lot of questions about their food while they’re eating.” They backed off. Even if you’re an object of curiosity, you’re allowed to remind people of their manners.
     
  25. No, it doesn’t matter which plant milk you use when you’re baking. You can probably use tap water. I do. 
     
  26. Cooking familiar food without the meat can make it feel like something is missing from the plate. Instead, try taking inspiration from cuisines that have lots of traditionally vegetarian dishes—make an Indian curry, an Italian bean soup or middle eastern wraps with falafel and hommus.
     
  27. Most bread is vegan. Most pasta is vegan. I don’t know why some vegans don’t know this. Definitely check the label in case it’s not (some breads are fortified with fish oil, gluten free bread often contains eggs or milk, sourdough culture can be dairy-based, some pasta contains eggs) but don’t assume you have to give these things up, because you don’t.
     
  28. I’ve been a vegan for thirty years and I still don't buy that there’s a difference between 'firm', 'extra-firm' and 'hard' tofu. Also, some tofu is labelled as ‘firm’ when it’s clearly not. The secret: nine times out of ten, if it’s in a plastic punnet it will be soft and if it’s wrapped in a plastic packet it will be firm. If in doubt, poke it. #protips
     
  29. When somebody asks you a question about being vegan, don’t immediately assume the defensive. Some people are genuinely interested. It’s hard when we’re used to being bullied all the time, but let’s try not to perpetuate the ‘angry vegan’ stereotype in every single interaction. Maybe the person is just trying to ask you for a vegan muffin recipe.
     
  30. I already said this, but take the B12.

You can find 65+ years of collective wisdom in my ebook, 'Easy Peasy Plant-Based Eating' which I co-authored with a vegan dietitian and mother of two vegan children. (One of the children was me.)

If you have questions, comments or objections to the above, please let me know in the comments or feel free to get in touch!

What do vegans eat? A list of things I eat every damn day

A LIST OF FOODS I EAT EVERY DAMN DAY.png

Guys: if you want to see all the five-minute meals I eat every day, follow me over on instagram.

Over the 29 years (so far) that I've been vegan, one question has been the most common by FAR. Way more common that "So where do you get your protein?" or "Why don't you drink milk?" or even "But aren't your shoes made of leather?" (They're not.)

People are always asking me, "What do you eat?"

When I was a little kid, the question was less nuanced than it is now. In the early nineties, when most people didn't know the word 'vegan', my friends at school just couldn't imagine that a diet made of plants could mean anything except lettuce and carrots. (In general, I've noticed that people are worryingly inept at discerning whether the thing they're eating is made out of a plant or an animal - A LOT OF ORDINARY FOOD IS VEGAN, GUYS.)

These days my friends are pretty much on top of the vegan thing, and I'm more likely to get asked the question by a client who wants to know what a day of healthy vegan eating looks like. The answer to this question is obviously different depending on your age, weight, activity level and specific health concerns, so I'm not going to lay out any specific recommendations here. (If you'd like to get a handle on how to plan a day of healthy vegan eating, check out Easy Peasy Plant-Based Eating.) 

Still, a lot of people are just curious to know what other vegans are putting on their plates. What I eat varies day-to-day, but there are certain foods on my 'every damn day' list. They're either things I include on purpose because I believe they're cornerstones of a nutritious plant-based diet, or I just really like them. (And actually, 95% of what I eat fits into both categories.)

Here's a list of foods I eat every damn day:

 

spinach.jpg

1. Green vegetables.

I can't imagine a day going by without eating something green. That'd be like not brushing my teeth or forgetting to check my emails. 

I also can't imagine making a plant-based diet work (nutrition-wise) without including green vegetables. They're a food group all their own: no, including a carrot and a potato with your dinner does NOT fulfil your daily vegie requirements. (Carrot is in a different food group to greens, and potato doesn't even count as a vegetable!) 

And oh my gosh, AVOCADO IS NOT A GREEN VEGETABLE, GUYS. It's a delicious pod of spreadable fat, but it doesn't qualify for the green group. 

It's good to eat a variety: I tend to favour broccoli, pak choy, zucchini and peas, but you can also go for green beans, kale, broccolini, asparagus, cabbage, brussell sprouts (roast them - it will change your life), spinach, silverbeet, Asian leafy greens and cauliflower (which does count, even though it's not that green). 

If there's no fresh produce in the house, I'll add frozen spinach to a smoothie, or just cook a cup of frozen peas to go on the side of whatever meal I'm having. But I gotsta have greens. Every single day.

2. Oats.

When people ask me what my favourite food is, my standard answer at the moment is 'oats and almond milk'. I have no idea why I love this bland little grain so much, but it's my ultimate comfort food. We have this tradition in our house where we often make pancakes on a Sunday morning, and I confess to being slightly disappointed most Sundays that it isn't an Oat Day.

At least six days a week, my breakfast consists of half a cup of uncooked quick oats, 2 teaspoons of ground chia or flax seeds, about a cup of chopped fruit (mango, berries or banana are my go-tos) and heaps of almond milk. 

You don't HAVE to eat oats, specifically, every day, but I do recommend that people eat whole grains daily - try starting with 2 cups a day and adjust up or down depending on your energy needs. Whole grains are eaten in their WHOLE form, without the fibrous husks removed. Compare brown rice to white rice: most of the goodness is in the brown part, but we take it off and throw it away, leaving only the (admittedly delicious, but comparatively inadequate) fluffy white part from the middle. Facepalm.

If you don't like brown rice or oats, you can eat quinoa, whole meal couscous, millet, barley, red rice, black rice, buckwheat, corn, amaranth, freekeh, farro, teff...or flour products made of any of these. Heads up - most of the 'wholemeal' bread for sale is made with at least half white flour. I only know of one type of bread that's made of 100% wholemeal flour. Sneaky!
 

fruit.jpg

3. Fruit.

I'm guilty of eating more fruit than I actually need to, but it's so freaking delicious. And bananas are my hero because they helped me give up eating deep-fried food.

In 2017 I made a resolution that I wouldn't eat deep-fried food any more, and realised that the most likely time for me to do this was when I was out with friends and the only vegan option at the pub was a bowl of chips. I started carrying a banana around in my handbag when I went out. (My circle lovingly refers to this institution as my "emergency banana".) Now when I find myself in a hangry situation and there's no low-fat vegan food available, I pull out my emergency banana. This has had a 100% success rate when it comes to avoiding deep-fried snacky times.

I also like mangoes so much that I sometimes eat one instead of dinner.

 

chia seeds.jpg

4. Flax or chia seeds.

Again, not a thing you HAVE to eat every day, but in many cases a Really Good Idea. I won't go into the technicalities here because it's super boring (if you really want to know, ask me) but flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts can play a part in helping us get enough of a type of omega-3 fatty acid. The best part of this is there's no need to eat oil squeezed from little fishies (gross). If you're really concerned about supplementing with docosahexaenoic acid (yeah, I said that word), which is a perfectly valid concern to have, you still don't need the fish oil. GUESS WHERE FISH GET THEIR DHA FROM, GUYS? From eating seaweed (or eating other, smaller, fishies that ate the seaweed). And fortunately we've worked out how to supply the same stuff the fishies eat in a nice vegan capsule form, without having to go to all the bother of involving the fish.

I do take a supplement, but I also like to eat a couple of teaspoons of ground flax or chia every day - either in my oats or in my pancake batter. They're great for helping the batter to bind. 

5. Vitamin B12.

Okay, this isn't a food, but this is a drum I'll bang at every chance I'll get. 

If you are going to eat a diet entirely based on plants, you need to supplement with Vitamin B12. Don't bother arguing in the comments. I won't read 'em.

It doesn't matter whether it's a capsule, lozenge or liquid (I currently have two bottles of delicious B12 liquid that I'm working through by squirting it directly into my mouth out of that little dropper thing every time I open the fridge). 

It does matter what type of B12 it is. This is a complex question and one I'll refer to The Human Herbivore, who is currently writing a PhD on the topic of Vitamin B12. But the one I usually take myself is this one.

What's on your every damn day list? I'd love to hear!

P.S. If the above has got you like "OH MY GOSH WHAT B12 DO I TAKE. WHAT ARE GREENS. FLAXSEED HALP" then I've got you! I wrote you a 66-page ebook that covers the basics of plant-based nutrition - everything I've mentioned above, and more. Get it for just $12 during January 2018. 

The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Christmas Catering

The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Christmas Catering

I know Christmas can be a seriously stressful time for vegans and their non-vegan families. If you're newly vegan, you might have no idea what to cook yourself for Christmas lunch. Or you might be facing the prospect of a large family gathering where everybody criticises your choice and comments on your food. You might face not being catered for and going hungry, ironically, on the one day of the year where you'd otherwise be guaranteed to overeat.

Read More

3 awesome, crazy easy things to do with tofu

3 things to do with tofu

I meet a lot of people who are scared of tofu. 

‘What is it?” “Why is it like that?” “It tastes like nothing?” “Why is it in water?” “The internet said I have to marinate it.” “IT FELL APART IN MY STIR FRY.”

Recipe books and The Internet don’t do anything to dispel the myth that tofu is difficult and mysterious. Recipes are full of bizarre instructions, like “to drain the tofu, wrap it in paper towel and place in the fridge with something heavy on top. Allow to sit for 2 hours before using.” Excuse me, but ain’t nobody got time for that. If I had to mess around with an ingredient 2+ hours before using it, I’d be scared of it too.

I’ve been eating tofu since I was smaller than a bee’s knee, or whatever the saying is. I’ve probably cooked with it at least twice a week since I was ten years old. And you guys - if you don’t like tofu, you’re doing it wrong. It’s amazing, delicious when done right, and incredibly easy to cook and eat. Mysterious, no. Magical? YES. Here are 3 things you can do with it:

tofu quiche
tofu pad thai
tofu chocolate mousse

1, Make a quiche. Not as hard as it sounds. To make the filling, blend 500g soft tofu with a tablespoon or so of flour, powdered vegetable stock or other seasoning to taste, and a dash of tumeric for colour. Mix through chopped veggies, onion and fresh herbs then pour into a quiche pan lined with vegan shortcrust pastry. Bake until it looks and feels like quiche (about an hour).

2. Stir-fry it. OBVIOUSLY. For this you need the 'hard' tofu, the one that feels like a squishy brick when you squeeze it in the supermarket. I like to marinate chunks of it in a tupperware container with soy sauce, hoi sin sauce, minced garlic and minced ginger (the stuff you get in jars is great for this). Leave it while you get all the other ingredients out for dinner, then fry it in a hot pan. Add some veggies and serve over brown rice if you’re hungry. P.S. You can actually skip the marinating step and just throw the sauce in when you fry it. True story.

3. Chocolate mousse. Yes. Blend 250g soft tofu in a bullet blender. Melt 250g (vegan) chocolate and add it to the tofu mixture. If you want it sweeter, add a sweetener; if you want it more bitter or chocolatey, add cocoa powder. (It’ s not rocket science.) Set in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve with strawberries. Super easy, super impressive.

Did you know I can literally come to your house, take you shopping for tofu and then show you how to cook it? And then we eat it, obviously! Check out my testimonials page for a recent review of a session dedicated entirely to tofu. (Spoiler: it’s rave.) Then contact me and invite me to come to your house and play with food, because nothing would make me happier than making YOU happy. With tofu.

5 great things my parents did to help me be a happy vegan for life

5 GREAT THINGS MY PARENTS DID TO HELP ME BE A HAPPY VEGAN

I've been a vegan for my whole life. I was born in 1988 and my brother was born in 1990, when nobody else was vegan. My parents had to negotiate all the usual stuff of bringing up kids and teaching them to eat, with the added element of explaining a non-mainstream diet choice. 

They did a really amazing job. From my perspective as the child, here are 5 things my parents did that I hope will inspire plant-based parents now: 

1. They created a strong family culture and taught me that veganism was part of that.

Every family has different traditions and rules; things they do and don’t do. In my family we called ‘family meetings’ to decide which movie we were going to and watched Seachange on Sunday nights while eating spinach and tofu pasties. We didn’t start eating until everybody sat down at the table. We picked a different theme every year for Christmas lunch. We didn’t sit on the kitchen bench or put our shoes on the bed (both rules I now regularly break in my own grown-up house— sorry mum). 

We also didn’t eat animals. That was one of our family things. It was okay that kids at school asked rude questions about our lunch or teachers didn’t understand. It was fine that not everybody ate the way we ate and believed the things we did. We grew up knowing that all families are different, and in some ways our family was different to most, but when we got home at the end of the day, everybody there would be vegan and everything would be okay.

2. They explained our family choices to me in age-appropriate ways, and gave me the tools to talk about it.

From as early as I can remember, my parents talked to me in a natural way about the fact that we were vegan. When I was really little, it was as simple as ‘we love animals and we don’t want to hurt them, so we don’t eat them or take their milk’. My dad made up a version of Baa Baa Black Sheep that went:

Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes I have—it’s on my back.
One bit to keep me warm when it’s cold
One bit to keep me dry when it rains
Thank you for asking me about my wool
Now daddy’s going to tickle his little girl!! 

(We didn't have any good vegan-themed books, toys or games when I was a kid, so it was on my parents to be creative. Now that I’m an adult, my mum has finally gotten around to writing We're Vegan!, a kids’ booking explaining veganism, and Billy Goes Vegan, a book for older children about a boy who initially freaks out when his mum goes vegan.)

As I got older I had more questions and our discussions became more complex. I tagged along with them to vegan get-togethers and events, listened in on grown-up conversations and picked up pamphlets. I started to gather that it was about more than not hurting animals—I learned to parse arguments about health and diet, the environmental impact of factory farming and how what we eat in developed countries has implications for global food distribution. I started to construct my own answers when people challenged my choices.

 I’m still learning. But my current understanding started with my parents entering into discussions with me and answering my questions sensibly and honestly.

3. They taught me that I was not the boss of what I ate, and that was okay.

Yes, I know this one is controversial. I’m not a parent, so I don't presume to give out parenting advice. But I did have the experience of being a child, and I can only talk about what it was like to be parented the way I was. (It was great.)

The dynamic in my house growing up was that mum and dad were the boss of things, and me and my brother were not. At two, three, five, ten or fifteen years old, we did not get to be in charge of the house or the way things ran. That was the privilege of the people who made us, kept us alive and paid for everything. I think that’s pretty reasonable.

This included the kitchen. It was understood that if we wanted something from in there, we usually had to ask. (We were allowed to eat out of the fruit bowl any time.) It was also understood that whatever we got in our lunchbox or on our dinner plates, that was it. There wasn’t anything else on offer and there wasn’t any point complaining or asking for something different.

My parents weren’t mean about it. It just never occurred to us that it was an option to make a fuss about the food; they never gave us that option. It appeared at mealtimes and sometimes we were keen on it, sometimes we weren’t, but usually we ate it.

The point is that this reduced a lot of potential conflict around eating plant-based food. Me and my brother were both happy to be vegan, but we also knew - because our parents told us - that if we didn’t want to eat vegan when we left home, that was fine, but they were in charge of the food and this was a vegan household.

4. They taught me what food was for, and that it wasn’t always taste.

More controversy: the main point of food isn’t always to taste good. (!!!)

Of course it’s nice when food tastes good, and sometimes we eat purely for the fun of it: popcorn at the movies, ice cream, birthday cake.

But sometimes eating isn’t fun. Most of the time it doesn’t have to be. Eating fills our stomachs, gives us energy and nutrients. Different types of food do different jobs - whole grains will make you feel full, fruit is good for a quick sugar hit, avocados help with weight gain (if you need it). From an early age, I learned about these things in the simplest terms.

This meant that ‘I don’t like it’ wasn’t really considered a good reason not to eat something, because liking it wasn't usually the main reason for eating it. I like most food, so I was usually pretty happy anyway.

5. They taught me how to plan and cook healthy plant-based meals.

Although mum and dad were in charge of the kitchen, they regularly encouraged us to help them in it. I learned by watching them. They taught me how to open the fridge and the pantry and see potential meals, then put them together. My dad taught me basic rules of baking so that I could invent things without a recipe. My mum taught me about the plant food groups and how to plan a day of eating around them.  (You can download a free chart of the plant-based food groups here, or get a giant fridge magnet version here.)

These 5 things my parents did empowered me to keep living a joyful plant-based life after I left home. I knew how to plan appropriate meals, get the ingredients at the grocery store and make food happen in my kitchen, with minimal time and fuss. I knew what food was for and how to choose what to eat. I knew how to explain my choices to others. And I’m really, really thankful to my parents for that.

If you're raising your kids on a plant-based diet and you’re feeling overwhelmed or inadequate, don't keep feeling that way. I’ve helped lots of families on their journey with healthy plant-based eating and I can help you too. See my services here or email me here if you have questions.

I’m also available to speak on these topics at your plant-based event, parents group or playgroup - contact me if you’d like to enquire.

What you need to know about Lifelong Vegan

What you need to know about Lifelong Vegan (1).png

Not all plant-based diets are the same. Not all plant-based people think the same.

If you're thinking of working with me, here are some things to know before we start. These are the things that make Lifelong Vegan pretty different to other plant-based blogs or businesses:

I’ve been vegan for a really long time.  For my whole life, in fact - which makes me pretty rare among people of my generation.  My mother went vegan five years before I was born, and remained vegan throughout her pregnancy with me.  I was born in 1988 and I’ve stayed vegan for my whole life.  Both of my parents have been vegan for over thirty years, and my younger brother is also a lifelong vegan.  We’ve weathered every vegan food trend, every nutrition myth and scare, bad press, good press, disappointing discontinuations of old favourite vegan products, and we’ve watched veganism grow from a misunderstood, marginal lifestyle choice to a respected worldwide trend.  I would never consider living any other way.

I’m really, really good at being vegan. I know which cruelty-free hippie deodorant actually works and how to get in and out of the grocery store without reading any labels. I know how to order in a restaurant without fuss and how to modify a recipe without googling anything. From school lunches to kids’ birthday parties, Christmas dinners to my own vegan wedding, I’ve rocked a vegan version of every situation you can imagine. I can make a no-bake tofu cheesecake that tastes like melted milk chocolate, and I want to give you the recipe.

I’m a properly educated vegan.  Speculation, misinformation and random anecdotal advice do not fly with me.  I don’t give out nutrition advice without having it fact-checked by an accredited practising dietitian who specialises in vegan diet planning.  I don’t link to information unless I feel personally satisfied that it comes from a credible source.  Unfortunately, the internet is rife with misinformation, and I don’t want to spread any more.  I take my responsibility as a vegan educator really seriously, and I do my best to teach my readers how to assess the credibility of information they read or hear.

I’m the nicest vegan on the internet.  I don’t put up with ‘vegan douchery’. This includes vegans who hate on other vegans for ‘not being vegan enough’ (or not healthy enough or not environmentally friendly enough), vegans who personally attack non-vegans, and vegans who make newbies feel stupid or guilty while they’re learning how to be vegan.   I'm fostering a community that promotes positivity and progress. 

I'm so pleased that you're here, and I'd love you to ask me to help you make plant-based eating easy. Nothing makes me happier. Let's talk!