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“Why did you go vegan?” – Lucy’s Vegan Story

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“Why did you go vegan?” – Lucy’s Vegan Story

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My name is Lucy and I am one half of the Vegan Sisters. I turned vegan back in 2015, but this came as quite a shock to my friends and family…

Sausages & Steak

If you asked my teenage self what foods I couldn’t live without I would have told you sausages and steak.

Cheap sausages and fancy steak to be exact. With the occasional slice of bacon and chunk of seasoned chicken thrown in for good luck.

I consumed food with very little thought of where it came from.

Lucy Johnson one half of vegan sisters in Portugal

There was just one inconsistency with this, however. I wouldn’t eat anything that still came on the bone. Chicken wings, pork chops, and ribs, they all had to be served sans bone, or they were never to enter my mouth.

No Bones

Without question of this slight confusion within my diet, I would happily consume boneless buckets and fillet steaks until the cows came home (quite literally). I wish I could say that it was at this point that I ditched the meat, but why would I need to when I could order my meat bone free. Nuggets are just nuggets, right? And a sausage is just a tasty tube of something that you eat with ketchup, right?

Lucy Johnson one half of vegan sisters

Now, to all my fellow vegans out there, you are probably thinking what a meaty entrance to your do-good article. Well, I want carnivores to know that I wasn’t any different. I loved meat. I loved the status of meat. I loved discovering new meats to try. I loved feeling that power to eat whatever I chose. And the finest fanciest versions of it.

A Foodie Without a Conscience

16 year old me was in a relationship with a chef who worked in Michelin star kitchens. Together we’d eat out at any restaurant with a star in front of it’s name. And we’d order the nicest cut of meat. Foie gras, pigeon, fillet steaks. I’d go on holiday and try camel, in the same way you would try the local wine offerings. I was one of the last people on this earth that you could ever imagine would go vegan. 

“Lucy vegan, no. Never.” (the reaction of my stepsister upon hearing that I’d ditched the meat in 2015)

Lucy Johnson one half of vegan sisters

I was known as a meat lover. Without sounding like I’m putting the blame on those who thought that of me, but that was self-perpetuating. Oh, you love meat? Have you ever tried Kangaroo? Oh no, but I have had crocodile. The very language of it, how could you ever pipe up and say, ah no I think maybe we should just leave them be. 

My Upbringing

You’d probably never guess then that I was actually born a vegetarian. My mother, despite all criticism thrown her way, decided to bring her kids into this world eating a veggie diet.

Doctors told her that her diet was the cause of our ailments. Club feet, chicken pox. All because she’d switched meat for plants.

Lucy Johnson one half of vegan sisters

Add a picky child into the mix (Alice 😉) and you’ve got one bloody confused parent. So began the addition of meat and fish into our diets. Our mum told us that she actually had to call up her friend to ask her how to cook chicken.

Funnily enough, nowadays the dishes I remember the best are actually her vegetarian dishes. Nut balls, nut roast, lentil sauce. So she must have been something right during our veggie years.

The Turning Point

Fast forward to my third year at university. I was studying for a BA in politics. Still very much a meat lover. I’d signed up for a Rights Theory module for my degree and had expected to discover a deep passion for human rights theory. 

We had a replacement lecturer for that semester. He was a vegan. Upon learning this I imagined that his homelife resembled that of Neil’s from The Young Ones. Cooking up vats of lentils and eating them with more lentils. 

Thank You, Peter Singer

One seminar our lecturer decided to focus in on animal rights. We were sent our seminar reading list some time beforehand and on that list was Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. I bought the book, feeling somewhat intimidated by it. I knew we had one vegetarian in the class, and our lecturer was vegan. I read the book with the intention of preparing myself for any ‘attacks’ sent our way.

Lucy Johnson one half of vegan sisters

What I read had the opposite effect on me. As a result, I knew that I couldn’t turn up to that seminar convincing myself and others that animals didn’t deserve any rights.

And I’m an all-or-nothing kinda person, so I quickly ditched the meat. And not long after out went fish, dairy, and eggs. Vegetarian would never have sufficed for me.

At that seminar, I proudly told the room that I had gone vegan.

I’ve tried to think about that moment of realisation time and time again, but I still can’t figure out if Peter Singer tapped into some subconscious concerns I had about meat-eating, or if I found his argument so convincing that I just couldn’t see any other way. I’m not sure I’ll ever know.

What Next?

That was in 2015. And I have never looked back.

From that moment on everything became about veganism. My dissertation, my Masters degree. And I even got accepted to write about it for a PhD. A last-minute change of heart led me to start working in kitchens. A place where I thought I could inspire others to go vegan.

I have since travelled the world, stuck it out in some of the hardest places to source anything vegan-friendly (yes, I’m thinking of you Cuba), and have continued to make veganism everything that I am.

And guess what, to this day, I still believe sausages are a staple and important part of my diet, they are just now made up of pea protein and enveloped in a vegetable casing. Still dolloped in ketchup though. 

lucy johnson co-founder of vegan sisters
Lucy Johnson

Lucy Johnson

One half of the Vegan Sisters, she is the Founder of SHiDO, a vegan web design studio. She is an avid cook, sharing her recipes on Edible Ethics vegan food blog.

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