Today we talk to Morgan Crawford, who shares her tips about finding vegans on Twitter and changing your diet rather than cutting things out. We also discuss her not being best pleased that she can’t get a vegan milkshake delivered to her bed. We can all relate to that.
How long have you been vegan for?
It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve been fully vegan for two months*.
I’ve been vegetarian for five years but, to be honest, I’ve wanted to be vegan for over a year. I’ve been living over in France as part of my degree – I do French and Philosophy – and I was putting it off because I found living in France hard, even as a veggie.
I spent the whole year eating cheese. I found it impossible. I ate plant-based meals at home, but I didn’t want to be awkward at family events and things. I wanted my start to be a clean start.
It’s so easy in England. I knew I could come home and have a positive start and just do it. And now, if I go back to France I’ll be more equipped to deal with a vegan lifestyle over there.
What was the tipping point for you?
Now there’s no hiding from the truth, whether you want to know it or not. I’m on Twitter a lot, as well as Instagram, and I’ve been following more and more vegetarians and vegans.
About three years ago, someone sent me a message on Tumblr that said ‘it’s great you’re veggie, but would you ever go vegan?’ and at that point I said ‘No, veggie’s enough. Blah blah blah.’ Looking back it’s so obvious that it’s not.
I just love animals and I just got to the point where I said ‘stop making excuses for yourself.’
So lots of internet research really helped find information?
Yeah, the internet’s been great. The best thing has been Twitter because there’s so many vegans on it. They’re really active so you can ask people any questions you have. You’re constantly getting information from links people are sharing.
And there’s a great mix – some are more interested in makeup, some go to lots of vigils. You get a big variety of the community and you can tailor it to your interests and needs.
How do you find vegans on Twitter?
A lot of them have the Ⓥ in their name so you can search for that. I’ve not put it in my name yet. I might do it at some point – but I think I need to earn the badge! Give it a couple more months.
What was your first month of veganism like?
Because I was so well prepared mentally, and because there’s so much vegan and vegetarian stuff in Leeds, I found it pretty easy. I’ve been a part of the veggie community here for a while so I was aware of where to go anyway.
The only thing I’m finding hard is puddings. They’re hard to find. Sometimes you just want a dirty takeaway. There is the odd chocolate cake but I can’t find a vegan milkshake. I love milkshakes. I mean, I know where to get them in Leeds but I can’t just lay in bed and and have one brought to me.
How supportive were your family and friends when you told them you were vegan?
I’ve been quite fortunate in how supportive my family are. Every Christmas, especially, both my Dads make a big effort to accommodate me and make something special. One of my brother’s can’t quite fathom it but my other brother is vegetarian and he’s trying to be vegan. That’s quite a recent thing. He’s always been conscious about certain meats and now he’s trying to go vegan.
Every Christmas, both my Dads make a big effort to accommodate me and make something special.
Did you have any purposeful or accidental slip ups in your first month?
I haven’t had any purposeful ones. I don’t think I’ve had any accidental ones… actually, no, at the start of the semester I was really poorly and I went to Sainsburys to pick up some cough syrup and some cough sweets. As I was leaving I had one of the cough sweets and straight away thought ‘crap, these are honey and lemon – they’ve got honey in them.’ I didn’t even think.
It was the same with meat. I found it really easy to transition once I’d made my mind up. I remember eating a steak before making the change and I was chewing it and it wasn’t ready to swallow for ages I thought ‘this is a cow. This is gross.’ Another time, I had a Chinese and I had a rib and I bit into a huge bit of grizzle and I just thought ‘this is fucking gross, why am I eating animals?’ It made me realise there was literally no point.
Eating a lot of cheese in France helped put me off cheese. And I’ve not been drinking milk for a long time. And eating eggs is just weird. They’re weird.
Have you learned about products that are vegan that you didn’t think would be?
Because I’ve been veggie for so long, I’ve been aware of a lot of it. With the union at uni, I was part of the committee for the vegetarian society and we did a milkshake tasting event where we went to Shake It in Leeds. We used vegan ice cream and blended it with loads of vegan sweets like Oreos, Fry’s Peppermint Cream, Starburst, Millions and Jammy Dodgers (before the recipe change!)
I’m doing that thing where I’m reading the label in the supermarket and shouting ‘why put milk in there? It ruins everything.’
What would your advice be to anyone either doing Veganuary or thinking of going vegan?
I would say it’s not about cutting out, it’s about changing. Don’t cut out, you need to reshape the way you look at food and meals. You can’t just eat what other people have minus the animal products, because you won’t enjoy it. Do your research and find different things you can eat.
Plus, I always say to get tins and frozen things to have something to fall back on when you’re feeling lazy or don’t have much time. Smiley faces and veg fingers are a life-saver. I always toast pitta bread and eat it with hummus when I can’t be bothered – it’s lazy but it’s protein with nine amino-acids!
I would say it’s not about cutting out, it’s about changing.
And you’re spreading the vegan word elsewhere, right?
I’m writing for Her Campus at the moment. It started in America and it’s spread out. Leeds Uni has a branch and I’m writing for that about veganism. I’ve done a ‘vegan on campus’ feature, ‘what’s in my cupboard’ feature. Stuff like that. I’m trying to show the little things we take for granted to show others it’s possible.
If you enjoyed Morgan’s story you can follow her on Instagram.
And why not read the rest of our 31 Vegans’ First 31 Days features here.
*We spoke to Morgan in November, so it’ll be four months now. High five, Morgan.