#atomlife

20th March 2017
By Jamie

In the UK, figures suggest that vegans make up just over 1% of the population. However here at atom, almost 20% of us are vegan. We thought this was interesting, especially as this seems to follow the growing interest in veganism in the UK, so decided to ask some of our vegan atoms about their reasons for choosing to adopt this lifestyle. We also consider the possibility: is Netflix the driving force behind the trend?
 
Graph showing the UK search trend for veganism from 2012 to 2017.
 

Jonny

When did you become vegan?

February 2016

 

Why did you choose to become vegan?

I started as part of a monthly challenge. I was doing 12 challenges in 12 months in 2016. Being a vegan is the only one that stuck.

 

What’s your favourite food to eat?

I love vegan chilli with lots of jalapeños. Adagashi tofu is also amazing.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced becoming vegan?

Eating at non-vegan people’s houses, including family members.

 

Why do you think veganism has become more popular in recent years?

People are more aware of where their foods come from, ethics around food, and animal rights.

 

What’s one tip you’d give someone considering becoming vegan?

Don’t try to be a perfect vegan overnight. Just do what you can/want to do. Small changes make big differences.

 

 

Jamie

When did you become vegan?

I cut out meat at the end of Oct 2015, and began making fully-vegan purchases soon after. I had some whey protein to use up at home, and by early Jan 2016 I’d finished this and was eating completely vegan. I’ve not looked back since!

 

Why did you choose to become vegan?

My reasons are largely ethical – I realised that my choices were causing harm to animals and I didn’t want to continue contributing to that. Whilst that sounds obvious, as a society I feel that we really do have a disconnect in our minds between seeing an animal alive, and what’s then on our plate as a piece of food. It’s great that veganism also has positive environmental and health benefits too.

I initially started after a friend introduced me to it, despite me having some initial resistance. I was definitely one of the “I could never do that myself” people! But as I learnt more it became clear to me that I should make a change. I’m surprised at how much I didn’t know about how the food I was eating was getting to my plate.

 

What’s your favourite food to eat?

Tricky choice! I’m a big fan of a variety of Asian foods, especially if they’re spicy. My go-to meal at home is a spicy black-bean stir fry, full of tofu, broccoli and mushrooms. At work I’ll usually eat a lentil dahl, or treat myself to all-you-can-eat vegan Chinese at Dou Dou in Camden. Also you can’t beat a bean-filled burrito bowl!

 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced becoming vegan?

Mostly other people’s reactions to it. I’m lucky that here at atom everyone is really respectful about people’s choices to be vegan, but I’ve had situations outside of work where people get quite defensive, even though they asked me about it. Casual jokes and jibes from people can get quite grating too.

There’s an excellent Instagram account called @vegansidekick that humorously captures some of the frustrating conversations that many vegans have. Also never read the comments section of newspaper article about veganism – it’s depressing.

 

Why do you think veganism has become more popular in recent years?

People, particularly younger generations, are becoming increasingly earth-aware. With documentaries like Cowspiracy and Before the Flood highlighting animal agriculture’s huge impact on climate change, the evidence is out there to give people a reason to change, and easily accessible.

 

What’s one tip you’d give someone considering becoming vegan?

Develop a strong reason for becoming vegan, and make it a moral standpoint. It’ll make it much easier to say no to offers of non-vegan food if you think of it as a principle that you stay true to. Bonus tip: it’s far easier than you expect. Before I went vegan I used to consider it as a severely restricting diet, whereas I’d now say I’ve eaten a far greater variety of foods than I used to.

 

 

Deema

Deema, one of our vegan atoms

When did you become vegan?

About 1 year ago
 

Why did you choose to become vegan?

People around me were becoming vegan and talking about climate change. I then watched Cowspiracy and other related talks and was converted!
 

What’s your favourite food to eat?

Vegan Pho noodle soups
 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced becoming vegan?

My body struggled to digest all the fibre with this change of diet, and my body took few months to adjust. And eating on the go with busy work schedule can be limiting.
 

Why do you think veganism has become more popular in recent years?

Awareness of climate change through documentaries, and an increasing healthy eating culture. Increased amount of vegan restaurants and foods in grocery stores.
 

What’s one tip you’d give someone considering becoming vegan?

Enjoy cooking, as there are so many delicious vegan recipes. Anything you crave has a vegan alternative and you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

 

 

Joshua

When did you become vegan?

Just over a year ago, after flirting with the idea for the past 6…

 

Why did you choose to become vegan?

I was pescatarian, and then for a very short time vegetarian, before going vegan. I always felt that I’d eventually like to go vegan for the same reasons I’d cut down and stopped eating meat in the first place: ethical, environmental and health.

 

What’s your favourite food to eat?

Recently, Shemin’s curry paste! It’s easy to make amazing curries/dahls/broths and its ingredients are all-natural and 100% vegan. It’s a shameless plug for an ex-atom, but it honestly is so tasty and versatile.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced becoming vegan?

When eating at other people’s houses. Eating out has been easy, buying food for myself is easy, but I always feel a little guilty forcing a host to do something a bit different to cater for me. However, it does always open a dialogue, and 9/10 times they’ve eaten a vegan meal too and we’ve all found it delicious!

 

Why do you think veganism has become more popular in recent years?

I think people are becoming more conscious of their impact on the wider world. The internet has helped raise awareness of a whole host of social causes and veganism is benefiting from that now. It’s likely a (vegan) chicken and egg thing…but it’s also become a lot easier to be a vegan now; there’s more restaurants, more recipes online, more options in supermarkets than ever before. Also I think it is enjoying a bit of hipster moment, where it’s cool to be vegan…I’m totally OK with that trend growing and continuing for a long time to come though! Plus, you know, it is really fucking cool.

 

What’s one tip you’d give someone considering becoming vegan?

Don’t let it be a huge deal. Start completely full vegan or do it gradually. Do what makes it easier for you, but just do something to make a difference.

 

 

Ben

When did you become vegan?

2nd January 2017

 

Why did you choose to become vegan?

I wanted to be less ignorant of where my food came from, and the consequences of eating the food I ate. When I watched Earthlings, Cowspiracy and a few other documentaries I became better informed and the decision became obvious to me that I wanted to be vegan. I thought that not eating meat would be difficult, but once the decision has been made, and for the reasons behind it, it has been an easy change for me.

 

What’s your favourite food to eat?

Thai and Chinese food, particularly stir fries. Fortunately this lends itself well to being vegan. Tamari soy sauce is the motherfucking tits.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced becoming vegan?

Going out for dinner is challenging. I don’t have much confidence in telling restaurants that I’m vegan and enquiring about my options, especially in front of friends and family.  

 

Why do you think veganism has become more popular in recent years?

I think there are a number of reasons why veganism is on the rise, and why the popularity of vegan outlets – such as Temple of Seitan and Pret’s veggie pop up – have been so successful. Ultimately it comes down to our values and morals, and the availability of information. Being vegan is the natural backlash against the immoral techniques companies have had to employ to make meat and meat products cheap to create, and cheap to sell – and the questions this then raises about eating meat at all. Is it necessary? Are taste or fashion really more important than an animal’s life? However, moral decision wouldn’t be possible if there wasn’t the information available in the first place. Netflix (now with 6 million UK subscribers) has a huge number of documentaries on the production and consequences of eating meat. Once you start digging, you realise how much there is to learn and how much information is available, if you want it.

 

What’s one tip you’d give someone considering becoming vegan?

Become less ignorant. Question where your meat comes from. Question everything. Watch Earthlings. Be open to change. That wasn’t one tip. Sorry.

 

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