Lots of people ask me why I'm vegan, and I'm always happy to answer them.
People are vegan for lots of different reasons - and I am not one of those people who thinks some reasons are better than others. Bill Clinton is a vegan for his health. The actor who played the farmer in Babe is vegan after bonding with all the animals on the film, and some people are vegan for environmental or religious reasons.
I feel really lucky, as I was raised vegan. My mum instilled a really big sense of respect for nature in me from a very young age. I'm not spiritual at all, but I care a lot about our fluffy friends, and trees and other green stuff.
My mother also taught me how to cook, which has turned out pretty well for me. I grew up not afraid to cook and bake different things, even if I did hate all vegetables apart from carrots until I was about 12!
I really enjoy veganism because to do it well makes you more creative with food, and really encourages you to eat more healthily and more widely too.
I don't eat a lot of processed food, but I eat a lot of different vegetables (especially green leafy ones, yum) , a lot of different grains (like buckwheat, millet, cous cous and quinoa as well as pasta and rice) and I get my fair share of pulses in too, like beans and lentils.
I know that I'm providing my body with really excellent and tasty fuel! I see the range of colours, and I feel genuinely excited and satisfied that I am so good at life when I eat this sort of food. It also means I have no guilt whatsoever when it comes to pudding!
I'm not out to upset anyone, or judge anyone for their personal choices, as we all have different things that we're passionate about, and different tolerances for just how much we can care, or how much things are on our radar.
Whenever I have reverted to vegetarianism in my life, I have been really upset to contribute to the way that animals are treated, even just to produce dairy products. Around half of all chickens for eggs are killed, just because they're male, and milking cows have their calves taken away but are forced to continually lactate for babies they no longer have, with all the hormones that a mother produces in the meantime. To me this is just too sad, and not something I want to support or condone by buying those products.
So you can probably imagine how I feel about the meat industry. I suppose my ideology on the matter is that we are all animals on this planet, and that we need to look after each other. If killing isn't necessary to our survival, I believe we shouldn't do it, as we have a kinder choice available to us.
I can't imagine looking into an animal's eyes and then hurting it, bottom line. I admit I find it difficult to understand how anyone could.
The well known book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burnett was pretty inspirational to me and my understanding of how important our natural world is to us - how awe inspiring it is, and how powerful it can be in encouraging us to be better, kinder people.