My mum was a big fan of The Smiths in the 1980s and was profoundly influenced by Morrisey’s stance on animal cruelty. By the time Meat is Murder was at number one, my mum had written the phrase on the Christmas turkey (much to my nan’s annoyance) and stopped eating anything my nan knew how to cook. 

Eleanor has been vegan for around 4 years / Photo credit: Vegan Society
Eleanor has been vegan for around 4 years / Photo credit: Vegan Society

Me and my two sisters were raised vegetarian in the 1990s, which can’t have been easy for my parents, but we are all incredibly grateful to them for doing so. The options weren’t great, eating out at most restaurants wasn’t worth it and eating at friends’ houses often resulted in some kind of fish dinner (fish is a vegetable, though, right?)  

I actually had a slow transition from vegetarian to vegan over the course of about 12 months around 2017. Cutting out milk was easy with so many (better) alternatives, but I did find cheese, eggs & chocolate quite tricky. The thing I struggled most with, which I was surprised about, was butter – there was NO good vegan alternative to butter for such a long time. Now there are loads (shoutout Naturli & Flora!). I’ve accidentally eaten something with cow milk butter on since and found it revolting! 

I’ve been fully vegan for around five years now, and in that time, the vegan options have improved immeasurably. There aren’t many restaurants I know that don’t have at least a couple of good options. We have Vegan Royale at Burger King, a Cadbury Plant Milk bar, 50% of the Wagamama menu is vegan, and it’s rare to make it through an ad break without hearing the word “vegan” too. I’ve truly never felt better. I suffer from ulcerative colitis, and I credit veganism for keeping it under control. 

Eleanor shares her top tips to start your vegan journey / Photo credit: Vegan Society
Eleanor shares her top tips to start your vegan journey / Photo credit: Vegan Society

Working for The Vegan Society is a dream come true for me. My values have never aligned to any business I’ve worked for before, so to do something I love for a cause so important (for animals, the environment, health, the future of our species etc…) is amazing, and I feel so fortunate to be involved.

It still surprises me when I meet intelligent, empathetic people who aren’t vegan. I think those are the only two qualities needed, first to make the connection and then to care enough to change. Having said that, I try to advocate “as much as feasibly possible”. For me, in a world which isn’t yet completely vegan, it’s better for a person to try Meat Free Mondays, Veganuary or flexitarianism, than not to bother at all. 

 My top tips for going vegan would be: 

  1. Take baby steps. Find products you can swap - there is literally an option for everything now (steak, burger, eggs, chocolate, milk, cakes….) 
  2. Learn how to cook your favourites (a game-changer for me was sliced tofu with nooch and black salt to replace a fried egg sandwich – my hangover go-to) 
  3. Be kind to yourself. I found it tough going from vegetarian to vegan, so I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who has transitioned from meat-eater to vegan.  
  4. Learn how to make seitan. It’s high in protein, super cheap and can be made into all kinds of meat alternatives. There’s plenty of recipes online.
  5. Watch the documentaries. The below are my favourites and don’t contain any distressing animal cruelty visuals.  
  • Cowspiracy – environment 
  • Game Changers – fitness 
  • Forks over Knives – nutrition 


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