For the third and final post of our veganuary series, we decided to sit down with our newest ARK team member, Rosie, to learn about what it’s really like to live a vegan lifestyle. We also talked to her about what it’s like working for a vegan brand and she shares her favourite ARK products!
Rosie switched over to a plant based diet a few years ago and has been really enjoying it ever since. So, whether you are a vegan, looking to become a vegan or even just want to introduce more plant-based meals into your diet, we hope this post can give you some inspiration.
Q: When did you become vegan? Was there something in particular that sparked your interest in changing your lifestyle?
I think it was around the end of 2018. I remember there was a lot of content shared on social media at the time raising awareness about animal cruelty. Of course I knew where meat and dairy came from, but watching the videos of animals struggling really struck me. So, initially, I just knew I didn’t like the idea of contributing to the suffering of animals and wanted to do something about it.
At first I was thinking about becoming vegetarian, so I decided to watch a few documentaries that had been recommended to me to learn more about the benefits. One documentary in particular called Cowspiracy really opened my eyes to the negative effect both meat and dairy industries have not only on animals, but also our environment and our health.
After watching the documentary, my husband was adamant that he wanted to become vegan straight away. He too was really shocked at how much of an impact animal agriculture had on our planet and so we both felt that the quickest way we could start making a difference was to switch over to a plant based diet.
Q: How did you go vegan?
Although we were really keen to become Vegan, there was lots to learn so it was definitely a gradual process. Most of the meat and dairy products we used to buy were fresh anyway, so we used the last of what we had, plus anything in the cupboards and decided that when we next went shopping we would try our best to find vegan alternatives.
Q: Did you find it difficult?
I think we both actually found it quite fun! We saw becoming plant-based as a bit of a challenge and really enjoyed learning about new foods and finding ways we could switch up our usual meals to make them plant based.
I do remember the reality of eating out quite difficult in the beginning. When we started, there weren't many vegan options on the menu (if any!) but it wasn’t too long after that a lot of vegan brands really started to kick off, so more and more vegan options were being introduced in supermarkets, restaurants and coffee shops. I think we decided to go Vegan at a good time!
Sometimes it can be really easy to slip up or make the odd mistake, for example, choosing something that contains milk or egg in a product you wouldn’t expect to find it in. Although we don’t want to purchase products with those ingredients in, if we do purchase something by mistake, we won’t throw it away, we just take it as a lesson learned for next time. Slip-ups can be inevitable I think - especially when you first start out!
Q: Is there anything you miss now that you eat a plant based diet?
In the beginning, yes, I definitely missed having things like a big handful of cheese on top of my pasta! Although, looking back now, I realise I ate a lot of foods out of habit and after not having them for a while I don’t really miss them anymore. As I mentioned earlier, now that there are so many vegan options, I can choose an alternative option instead, so I actually still have a lot of the meals that I loved when we ate meat and dairy - I’ve just adjusted them to make them plant based.
I think being Vegan has actually encouraged me to try a lot of things I wouldn’t have before. Plus, with the vegan market growing and growing, there are always new things to try which definitely helps to keep things interesting!
Q: We know a plant-based diet is a huge part of being vegan, but there is much more to it than that, how are you finding working for a vegan brand? Which is your favourite product from the ARK Skincare range so far?
There is definitely a lot to think about and be mindful of - especially when you first start and everything is so new. I decided I wanted to concentrate on changing my diet to start off as changing to a vegan lifestyle in every aspect at once was quite daunting. But now I have been vegan for a few years, I do like to try to be mindful and make sustainable choices in other ways like trying to reduce waste and opting for vegan friendly brands.
It’s really rewarding to work for a brand who are so proud to be vegan. I love being able to introduce people to ARK Skincare because I know I am able to reassure them that whichever products they choose, they can rest assured that they will be 100% Vegan and will have never been tested on animals.
When I first started, I was introduced to the Age Protect Cleanser and Age Protect Moisturiser and have kept using them both since. As someone who suffers with sensitive skin, I’ve found they’ve really helped to calm it down.
Another product I absolutely love is the Triple Action Exfoliator. I remember the first time I used it I was genuinely surprised how much softer my skin felt afterwards and It’s such a lovely product to massage in.
Q: What would you suggest to somebody interested in becoming vegan?
My advice would be to ease into it slowly. Changing your whole lifestyle immediately can be challenging, so I wouldn’t worry about being super strict to start with. Just enjoy the process of learning new recipes and ways you can adapt meals you already love and enjoy.
I think watching lots of different documentaries is helpful too. Some of the facts you learn are really interesting and can help to keep you inspired. I’ve had to re-watch a few to get them to fully sink in!
I’d love to share my Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese recipe for anyone who is looking for some plant-based inspiration - I love it!
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 pack of mushrooms, diced
- 2 garlic cloves / garlic granules
- 1 tsp Italian herbs
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 200ml passata
- 1 tin of green lentils
- 1 cup of walnuts
- 1 pack of meat free mince (optional)
- A splash of balsamic vinegar
- A splash soy sauce
- Toast the walnuts in a pan for a few minutes on a medium heat. Then, in batches, use a blender to blitz them into finer pieces. (If you don’t have a blender, a good alternative is to put them into a freezer bag and break them up with the end of a rolling pin!)
- Fry the mushrooms for 5-10 minutes before adding the onions and garlic. Fry everything until soft.
- Add the herbs, spices and the stock cube, then leave to simmer for a few minutes before adding the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. If you are using mince, add this now too.
- Next, add in the walnuts and lentils and mix everything through. Then add your tin of chopped tomatoes, passata and a splash of water. Leave to cook gently on a low to medium heat.
- Cook your pasta of choice and mix everything together.
- Serve and enjoy!
Are you interested in learning more about Vegan skincare? Click here to view the full ARK Skincare product range!
The winter season can be cruel to your skin. Cold weather and low humidity result in dry air which strips skin of moisture, causing tightness, dryness and irritation. Therefore, it is essential to learn what your skin needs so you can switch up your skincare accordingly.
In this post, we focus on how the winter months can affect your skin and share our tips on how you can keep your skin looking and feeling great.
We know just how tempting it can be to turn the heating right up, especially when you come inside after being out in the cold. While it might feel comforting to warm yourself up, the dramatic change in temperature can wreak havoc on your skin. Central heating blows out dry, hot air which strips your skin of moisture and natural oils, resulting in redness and irritation.
To keep your skin hydrated, keep your heating on a medium level and wrap up warm in plenty of layers instead. Having a humidifier in your home can significantly help by forcing moisture back into the air, preventing skin from becoming dry or irritated. If you don't have a humidifier, putting a bowl of water above your radiator is a great alternative.
Products to try:
Choose skincare products with hydrating ingredients to give your skin a generous boost of moisture.
ARK Skincare’s intensively refreshing Hydrating Beauty Mist will restore skin in just a few spritz. Hyaluronic Acid relieves dryness and irritation, while Wild Water mint, Aloe Vera and Allantoin helps to soothe and calm. The perfect product to replenish your skin throughout the day.
You may also like to take a look at our skin perfecting Hydrating Serum. Cucumber extract cocoons parched skin in hydration, while Laminaria Algae helps to trap in water molecules and prevent against water loss. Apply directly to dry areas or mix 2-3 drops into your moisturiser before application.
Omega Fatty Acids are essential for happy, healthy skin. They act as the building blocks in your skin cells and help to strengthen the skin’s surface layer (also known as the Stratum Corneum), which protects against environmental factors such as cold weather and harsh winds. Although the skin requires these fatty acids for good health, your body is unable to produce them on its own.
To give your skin the fatty acids it needs, make sure to include omega-rich foods in your diet. Examples include:
Omega-3 – Fish, vegetable oils, plant oils and leafy vegetables
Omega-6 – Nuts, seeds, sunflower, soybean and sesame oils
Omega-9 – Olive, sunflower and flaxseed oils, hazelnuts
Another highly effective way of getting omega-fatty acids to your skin is by applying them directly through your skincare products.
Products to try:
Try ARK Skincare’s Pre-Cleanse and Make-Up Remover and you’ll never look back. This multi-fruit lipid blend contains Avocado, Grape Seed and Kiwi Oil which are rich in Omegas 3, 6 and 9, helping to deeply nourish and strengthen your skin, for a smoother, healthier complexion.
Use before your Age Intelligent cleanser to dissolve any last trace of dirt, grime and excess sebum to leave your skin clean and refreshed.
You may also like to try our Conditioning Body Oil, a luxurious body serum with a beautiful scent made from a blend of natural essential oils rich in Omega 3, 6 & 9 to nourish the skin. Bisabolol, extracted from the Brazilian Tree, provides a natural remedy for sensitive or irritated skin, while Vitamin E helps protect the skin from the damaging effects of environmental pollution.
Ever suffered from dry lips? Your lips are very different to any other part of your body. Unlike the rest of your skin, your lips don’t have any oil or sweat glands meaning they lack protective oils. They also have a much thinner protective layer of skin, meaning they are a lot more exposed to environmental factors like harsh winds and colder weather.
Try to avoid licking your lips. It may feel relieving, but saliva evaporates quickly, meaning your lips may be left even be drier than before. As your lips can’t naturally produce moisture, it is important to use a lip cream to help protect them. Make applying a lip treatment a part of your daily routine to give your skin the protection it needs.
Products to try:
ARK Skincare’s Advanced Action Plumping Lip Cream is an intensive treatment designed to hydrate, repair and repair cracked lips. Ingredients such as macadamia oils contain high levels of linoleic acid which help to restore the skin's barrier function and prevent water loss, helping to keep your lips soft and supple. It also contains clinically proven plumping peptides to increase lip volume, hydration and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Now the days are shorter and the weather is a lot colder, you may be tempted to put your SPF away. Please don’t! - Sun protection is important all year round, even in the winter months.
There are two types of light rays. UVA and UVB. Typically, we are more aware of the need for SPF in the summer because UVB rays which cause sunburn are very strong. In the colder months, UVB rays tend to weaken, but we are still at risk of UVA.
While UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays, up to 80% can still be absorbed by your skin meaning you still need SPF protection on cloudy days. UVA rays also penetrate the skin more deeply and are responsible for skin ageing and cause indirect damage to DNA so it is important to keep protected!
Incorporate products which contain SPF into your daily routine. This way they will easily become habit and you can rest assured your skin is taken care of. Make sure to apply a generous amount for ultimate protection. Experts recommend SPF 30 is a good level to use to keep skin protected.
ARK Skincare's Skin Protector SPF 30 Primer is one of our popular hero products which can be used as a sun protector, make-up primer and daily moisturiser all in one. With a blend of UVA and UVB filters, this formulation offers broad-spectrum protection, while nourishing ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid can help boost hydration. Vitamin E and Shea butter helps to soften and smooth.
Are you planning to switch up your winter skincare? We've got you covered. To learn more about the ARK Skincare range, visit arkskincare.com today.
Radiance by WEBMD - Natural Skincare - The Skinny on Fats
NHS - Sunscreen and Sun Safety
NetDoctor - Winter Proof Your Skin
Paula's Choice - The Essential Role Of Omega Fatty Acids
1. Get Inspired
There are many different reasons why you might be interested in trying Veganism - perhaps to protect animals, do your bit for the environment, or even just to try something new!
To get inspired, you may find it helpful to do some of your own research into why choosing plant-based options is a good idea. There are plenty of great resources available online and informative documentaries on Netflix, such as Game Changers, Cowspiracy & What The Health.
You can read our previous blog post about some of the benefits of going vegan here.
2. Find foods that are accidentally vegan
Adopting a vegan diet doesn’t have to be as intimidating or overwhelming as you might first think. You may actually be surprised at how many vegan foods you have already have sitting in your cupboards!
We found two really helpful lists of ‘accidentally vegan foods’ created by Veganuary & The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which you can view here.
3. Try new things
It can be daunting trying new things at first, but experimenting with food can be really enjoyable.
This doesn’t mean you have to suddenly change your whole weekly shop, but even choosing a handful of plant-based alternatives to things you buy already is a great place to start. Now more than ever, there are so many different vegan options to choose from - you may even find a new favourite meal!
4. Veganise your favourite dishes
Choosing plant-based options doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favourite foods. You may be surprised to learn just how easy it can be to adjust the meals you already love to make them Vegan friendly. Enjoy a curry? Replace meat with chunks of potato. Friday night pizza? - Opt for plant-based cheese and double up on veggies. Burgers? - Choose a patty made from soya or vegetables and breadcrumbs. There are so many options available in both supermarkets and restaurants now making it far easier to choose Vegan.
5. Explore the vegan community
There are so many great Vegan food magazines, youtube channels and social media accounts to help inspire you and give ideas of what plant-based meals and treats you can make. Some of our favourites include:
Deliciously Ella - Ella Woodward has both a YouTube channel and Instagram page where she shares a huge selection of her delicious plant-based recipes. She also has a selection of tasty treats available to buy online and in supermarkets around the UK.
Accidentally Vegan - This instagram page features all the best Vegan products you can find in all the UK supermarkets varying from sandwiches and pizzas to cheesecake and chocolate - everything you could possibly need.
Mina Rome - A Youtube Channel run by Amina who shares her delicious, fun and creative recipes - the best place to look if you’re in need of some inspiration.
6. Perseverance is key - don't give up!
Like any other food, when it comes to plant-based options, you might love the first one you try, or you may have to give a few a go before you find the one for you. Persistence is key. If you try a brand of Vegan cheese, for example, and it’s not for you, don’t give up on Vegan cheese altogether - there will certainly be another one to try! A positive thing to remember is that there are so many more vegan options out there than ever before, so you have the option to try and try again until you find what works for you.
7. Look for vegan brands
Here at ARK Skincare, we are proud to offer a whole range of skincare that is 100% vegan. To learn more about our products, click here head over to the ARK Skincare website.
8. Enjoy yourself!
Some people may choose to adopt a fully vegan lifestyle straight away which is great - if it works for them. Others may decide to take a slower approach or simply just introduce more plant-based options into their diet.
When learning about something new, it’s important to remember that you’re allowed to take time to figure out what works best for you and it’s okay to slip up now and again. Even by making small changes or opting for 3-4 plant-based meals every week you can make a huge contribution.
Take a look at ARK Skincare's Vegan Friendly collection here.