Lucy Watson: ‘Turning vegan forced me to dump all my designer handbags’

Hey, it's World Vegan Day - and influencer/TV star Lucy Watson tells Marie Claire why it's drastically changed her life for the better...

Words by Marisa Bate

‘It was moving with my family to a working farm when I was six that first made me question my diet and turn vegetarian. I loved the animals and thought it was weird and cruel to eat your “pets”. Having grown up thinking of myself as someone who doesn’t contribute to animal cruelty, I was really upset when I watched the documentary Cowspiracy three years ago, which revealed the shocking truths about the dairy and egg industry (like female cows being artificially, brutally impregnated before they are separated from their calves in order to produce milk). I couldn’t keep supporting such cruelty, so I gave up dairy the next day. It was tough − I ate lots of cheese and I loved it.

Becoming vegan has drastically changed my life. I now have so much energy, I feel hyper and it’s dawned on me how sluggish I felt before when I consumed too much dairy produce. I’ve had to become inventive with what I eat, and include more nutritious foods in my diet. As a result, I lost weight, my skin has got better and I feel less bloated.

The rise of veganism has been fantastic to watch. Three years ago, 
I was considered strange and my family were worried about my health, telling me I’d get ill all the time. 
I found myself leaving restaurants because of the menus, but now almost every chain and restaurant has vegan options, which is brilliant. 
I know a lot of brands are jumping on the bandwagon because it’s a market they don’t want to miss out on, but I think the availability of so many options is a good thing.

I’ve accumulated a large vegan following online because it isn’t just a fad for me. This is my passion, my lifestyle. But I’ve definitely lost a lot of followers, too. I want to talk and educate the public about the issue and a lot of people don’t want to hear the truth about the way their food is produced; they’re not ready. The hardest thing has been the narrow-mindedness of others. When you have a following, you are always going to have people who love or hate you, but those sending me photos of raw flesh with the caption, “Get this down you”. Really?

My two vegan cookbooks, Feed Me Vegan and Feed Me Vegan For All Occasions, which were aimed at a minority market, have done much better than I thought they would, and last summer I even opened a vegan restaurant with my sister and dad.

It’s probably impossible to be completely cruelty-free − even our bank notes contain animal products – but I try to make conscious fashion choices: I got rid of my designer bags that contain animal products and I’d never buy down, leather or wool.’

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