Today we’re chatting to Alex Flore, an Australian swing dancer living the vegan dream in London.
He talks about vegan takeaways, surrounding himself with supportive people and eating the rainbow.
How long have you been vegan?
I’ve only been vegan since June last year but I have always had vegan friends and straight edge friends through my teens and into my 20s, so I’ve always had a good idea about vegan food.
I moved to London and I needed to re-adjust my life, to find something to focus on and really put my mind to. I gave up alcohol and smoking in 2015 and decided I needed to go all out, because if I’m going to try and lead a clean lifestyle, I am better off cutting everything out.
So I decided to give up all animal products straight away. I didn’t find it that difficult actually, because I was living in London where it’s not hard to live that kind of lifestyle.
So what is your diet like now?
My diet now is quite clean still. I try and eat the rainbow. A long time ago, I met this dude who was vegan and he said something that has stuck with me all these years and that was ‘just eat the rainbow’. He tried to have as many colours in his food as possible so I try to keep that in mind.
I’m not going to lie, my cooking repertoire is shit and because my schedule is ridiculously busy, I eat out a lot. I live in a shared flat too and sometimes I get home at 11pm and don’t want to come in and start making a bunch of noise in the kitchen. Luckily for me, being in London, the variety of vegan takeaways are really good and they can be really healthy.
Are you the only vegan in your office? And do you need to organise a staff lunch? Always pick asian cuisine, indian if you can. You will always have an option and your colleagues won’t even bat an eyelid. Took the office to @indigostreetfood Bethnal Green road, and boy did it hit the spot! The bento-box inspired choice is way rad. Left me with super awesome vibes! #shakas #veganfood #wednesday
Do you have a supportive network around you?
Yeah I have. It’s the people that I chose to hang around with. I never stuck with one group of friends, but I tried to make friends with all kinds of people. I would always go to punk shows and you’d meet a lot of people there, but especially vegans and straight edge kids.
Some of the jobs I did in my early 20s put me in more alternative crowds – I hate that word – but I was always hanging around with friends in bands and people into music. My recollection of those times are that people were always friendly. They never cared if I ate meat in front of them, but they would cook me vegan food and educate me a lot as well.
It was so helpful having that influence early on and it has equipped me with the ability to make this choice. I dipped my toes into the waters of veganism early in life.
I dipped my toes into the waters of veganism early in life.
How about your parents?
The most difficult thing actually were my parents. They don’t understand the concept of being vegan. My family are originally from Mauritius and we’re big into French cuisine so whenever my mum comes to visit, we always went to a French restaurant and ate snails. So when she came visit after my transition, we went back to a French restaurant but I couldn’t eat them. That was difficult because they couldn’t understand.
My mum still questions it and says she’ll keep it quiet if I eat a piece of chicken and I have to keep explaining that that’s not the point. It’s like a pledge that you have to stick to.
Vegan salt bae popped around and sprinkled some motherf*****g tofu bricks and meaty mushroom slices all over this stir-fry. If Gucci Mane was here he’d be yellin out #bricksquad for real. #tofubossman #vegan #veganfood #veganlife #whatveganseat #vegansoflondon #vegansofldn #vegansofig #plantbased #stirfry #foodshare #veganfoodshare #healthyeating #healthyfood #goodfood #straightedgevegan #straightedge #sunday #sundayfunday #dailypic #foodpic #vegancooking #vgnldn #guccimane #saltbae #veganbae #tofubricks #tofustirfry
Did you think you’d miss anything when you went vegan?
I love desserts. I have a big sweet tooth and everybody knows that about me. I love chocolate bars and thought I’d miss those but I don’t miss any of those things because there are so many alternatives that taste the same. For example, Go Max Go is an American candy brand that make chocolate bars in the style of Snickers, Mars and Reese’s peanut butter cups, for example, as vegan alternatives.
There’s an ice cream parlour in London called Yorica and – holy shit – the stuff they sell is incredible. Ben and Jerry’s are coming out with a vegan range and Oreo’s are vegan so I honestly can’t say I miss a particular thing. It would be ridiculous for me to say that because there are so many vegan alternatives.
I honestly can’t say I miss a particular thing. It would be ridiculous for me to say that because there are so many vegan alternatives.
Is there anything you wish you’d known that you know now?
At the beginning, I did panic that I wouldn’t be able to support myself on a vegan diet, but it was really easy.
At the beginning, I did panic that I wouldn’t be able to support myself on a vegan diet, but it was really easy. It’s one thing to want to live healthy and make the right choice, and it’s another thing to implement it correctly, but it’s not difficult.
But now, I’ve managed the nutrition side of things and I’m slowly trying to get rid of all my leather products. Something as simple as my wallet that I’ve had for about five or six years, I justI looked at one day recently and thought I needed to get rid of it. It didn’t feel right any more so I went out and got a canvas wallet. Then I thought about my shoes. I then changed my leather belt and implementing these little changes every now and again is making me feel so much more satisfied with my reasons for doing it all.
To keep up with Alex’s story you can follow him on Instagram.
And read the rest of the 31 Vegans’ First 31 Days stories here.