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!