I didn’t choose the vegan life; the vegan life chose me.

If it wasn’t for my sensitive hormones and my intolerance to lactose I would’ve probably settled for vegetarianism but I soon grew to learn that cheese and I are incompatible.

Temple of Hackney’s “Temple Burger”

Moving onto my story and why I transitioned into Veganism:
 It all began (unofficially) in January 2016 when I started building an intolerance to cheese and any food/treats containing dairy. Despite this intolerance, I continued to ignore the issue and consumed cheese daily and was prepared to face the repercussions later in the day, but soon I could no longer tolerate the heavy and cloudy feeling I felt in my stomach and knew it was time to give it up. Now with regards to meat (predominantly chicken and fish, I’ve never enjoyed red meat) I decided to give both chicken and fish a rest to improve my health and I knew that this would help ameliorate my hormonal imbalance. Quick sidenote: I think people have this misconception that all vegans and vegetarians are health freaks but in actual fact, eating a plant-based diet can still be unhealthy if done incorrectly.

Temple of Hackney’s “Mac n Cheese”

I never became an official vegan until July 2016 and it’s the greatest decision I made as it has improved my health immensely. I’m always up bright and early in the morning with bursts of energy which last between 30 minutes to a whole day which all depends upon the amount of water I’ve consumed the day before. I also find that my digestive system is a lot less gassy since abandoning cheese and meat which I’m most pleased about. Another benefit is I’ve noticed that I rarely fall ill but when I happen to, I recover within three days which is excellent! At the very start of my transition I always cringed at the thought of being labelled a vegan and feared that I’d be boxed into the same category as those annoying militant animal activists. The feeling soon subsided and I began embracing the title and… the jokes.

Voodoo Ray’s “Queen Vegan”

Many people are under the impression that vegans eat “grass” and “straw” which, at first, was hilarious but the novelty soon wore off. Yes, we eat substantial meals, shocker right!? I’m of Congolese descent therefore most of my meals are influenced by Congolese cuisine and various other traditional African meals. For instance, preparing dinner is never difficult as I’d eat semolina, [collard] greens with a side of fried plantain and the following day I’d eat the same thing or I’d replace the semolina with vegetable rice or just plain rice. Food preparations aren’t as difficult as you carnivores expected! The only difficult thing I do face is when eating at restaurants especially franchises as they normally have a fixed menu and normally aren’t vegan friendly, so what normally happens is I end up having to customise my meal. Thankfully, there has been a large influx of vegan restaurants and vegan friendly menu’s in London which I appreciate wholeheartedly.

Zizzi’s Vegan Lentil Ragu

Some of my favourite places to visit are all located in East London which is quite the distance from where I’m based but the quality of the food is spectacular so I can’t complain. Temple of Seitan, located on Morning Lane serves ‘fried chicken’ burgers made from gluten named seitan and vegan friendly mac and ‘cheese’ which tastes divine. The food is seasoned extremely well and I’m often stalking the hashtag of their Instagram page and picture myself devouring every single meal on their menu. It’s fairly new but the quality of their food is exceptional. My second favourite is Voodoo Ray’s which isn’t entirely vegan, however they serve ‘Queen Vegan’ pizza which features artichoke, sun blushed tomatoes, green olives and vegan pesto which I always purchase whenever I happen to be in Liverpool Street. Zizzi restaurant serve Vegan lentil ragu which is beautifully created and truly hits that spot in my stomach. I truly appreciate the efforts being made by restaurants to cater to us veganators and cannot wait to explore London and discover plenty more!