As a child, my parents recall me saying “all I want is a piggy in my lap” when the closest I would have come is bacon on my plate. I’ve never encountered a child that doesn’t love animals, so it continually baffles me how a parent can go from seeing their child squeal in delight at the sight of a baby chick, only to sit them down to a roast dinner that evening. Although my now vegetarian Mum feels bad about the meat she fed us as children “it was just what people did.”

When I was thirteen, I was living in a completely vegetarian/vegan household as the sole carnivore. I loved animals but like most people I never really associated the animals I loved with the animals I was eating. On the 25th of December 2001, I was tucking into a meat-laden Christmas lunch with my brothers. As I began to eat, my brothers, who were eating Mum’s nutmeat roast, told me that they would love me more if I was a vegetarian. This was the last time I ever ate meat.

Up until the age of nineteen, I had toyed with the idea of becoming vegan but had dismissed it as being too difficult. I fell into veganism around Christmas 2007 when I decided to go on a diet which cut out the consumption of all animal products and after a few weeks I decided to become a full time vegan. It would seem that the Christmas spirit twice influenced my animal produce eating ways.

It wasn’t until I became vegan that I truly fell in love with cooking. I crave the challenge of creating something that nobody would suspect is cruelty-free and the enjoyment of discovering new vegan ingredients to cook with. Being vegan really makes you appreciate the small things that most people take for granted; a lipgloss, pair of shoes or a biscuit with your morning tea.

Taking the leap from vegetarianism to veganism is significantly harder than cutting out meat for the first time. There’s a lot of label reading, question asking and online researching but it’s all worth it because all I want from animals is their affection, not their skin, flesh or milk.

Like A Vegan is dedicated to all the animals that have suffered at the hands of humans and most of all my hounds, Philip and Sweep, who are sadly no longer with us.

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