The only thing in life that’s guaranteed is change. As someone who spent the best part of my twenties searching for the perfect burger, I’ve surprised even myself by adopting a vegan diet for the past three years.
I think everyone’s relationship with food is a very personal one. Emotional factors, as well as cold hard facts, will always need to be considered and I truly believe each to their own.
If anyone is interested in exploring veganism, these are my tips.
Firstly, The Vegan Society defines veganism as "a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose". The lifestyle can go into every area of your life from entertainment, and cosmetics as well as food.
Know that any step you choose to take is right for you
I still own some leather pieces (mostly second hand), I only use cruelty-free cosmetics and my diet is vegan unless it's out of my control or I'm at a social event. Personally, I think it's so important to have a level of flexibility.
Food can be either social or isolating and I will always choose the former. It's never a positive thing to avoid your friends or make them feel awkward around you, so be easy on them and yourself. Also, I think you should set your own standards as to what you are comfortable evolving. Any change you make, big or small you, is positive.
I started watching a lot of documentaries and some of them made a huge impact on me.Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives were all amazing. I also began following lots of great bloggers like Oh She Glows and Deliciously Ella.
I completed a twelve-week cooking course in the Life Change Institute which covered raw food, fermentation, chocolate, sprouting, juicing. It really improved my kitchen skills.
Know why you are making the changes
I came across this video of Louis Antonio telling his mum why he doesn't want to eat octopus and it really touched me. He's so compassionate towards animals and he makes an immediate connection between the food on his plate and what had to happen to get it there.
Once I made the connection between how I was shopping and eating and something being killed, it took the glamour away from a lot of things.
Know you are in good celebrity company
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has opted for a vegan diet to improve his health since having quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 and stent surgery in 2010. Natalie Portman, Olivia Wilde, Arianna Grande and Alicia Silverstone are also celebrity advocates.
Feel the beauty benefits
As I entered my thirties, I started to notice my skin wasn't as naturally glowing as it used to be. I was also developing patches of redness on my skin and congestion on my chin and nose. Cutting out red meat and dairy made the single greatest improvement to my skin I have ever experienced.
I was lucky to never have severe acne but since adopting a plant-based diet, I feel my skin looks better now at nearly thirty-four than it did in my late twenties.
I also use a great natural skincare range called Yonka. The products were developed for burn victims originally and they are clinically proven to be effective, yet natural.
At this stage, this is a way of life for me and I find my friends are often intrigued by what I am eating. It seems as if Ireland is really embracing plant based eating and most coffee shops will just as easily prepare an almond latte as a normal one.
Vegan protein balls are everywhere and, more and more, I am even being handed special menus just for vegans in hotels and restaurants with a number of options to choose from.
Written by Holly White
Holly White posts regularly on her blog Holly.ie and shares vegan recipes. Be sure to follow her on Instagram where she share healthy places serving gorgeous food and natural beauty.