My journey to being vegan started as a kid

I wrote this for today’s Daily Express.

It felt wrong to me to kill animals. I felt an affinity for them, I knew they had feelings, families, faces – in so many ways they were like us. Eating them felt wrong too, the emotional and physical experience of that bothered me greatly. That bothered my parents but when I left home and fended for myself – I stopped eating animals. I had the choice then and it was easy. That’s where my first reason to be vegan comes from – concern for animals, though I was vegetarian at first.

It was while living on the road that I took the next step, I learned more about food, what it actually is and what’s in it. I learned about the overuse of sugar, salt and fat in processed food and the use of poisonous chemicals in crop growing. I worked on Britain’s first organic farm in the 1980s and I swear you’ve never eaten a carrot until you pull one out of the ground, dust it down and bite it. I went vegan living on the road – it was an easy step.

Climate change hit my radar in the early 1990s along with the fact that one its biggest causes is industrial animal farming. And though I didn’t need it, I had a second reason to be vegan – for the climate.

I’d always felt that it was unhealthy to eat dead animals. Scientific evidence of that began to emerge in the 90s and today it’s established fact – animal products are linked to a whole host of human diseases. And in the last few years plant based eating is well established as a way to boost athletic performance – not just disease avoidance, that makes sense. My third reason to be vegan – for health.

That’s been my journey to understand the three big reasons to be vegan – animal rights, the climate crisis and human health. Each individually compelling, together an irresistible case for taking animals out of our diets.