As a passionate animal rights advocate – who enjoyed eating the occasional roast chicken and fish dish – Kate Morris was conflicted. Would three weeks of solid veganism be enough to break the carnivorous habits of a lifetime?Read more
In the beauty industry, there is always a “next big thing”. And currently, one of those next big things is vegan beauty. Given that there’s no obvious meat or fish in any of the beauty products I use, I’m sometimes confused by this. What does it really mean? And is it going to be enough, along with meatless Mondays, avoiding fur, going plant-based in January, to really save the planet?
Our vegan issue of The Wildsmith Papers started with a bit of chat around the table about whether a summer barbecue can ever truly be a barbecue if it doesn’t serve meat, and quickly ran into a heated debate that threw up all the above questions and more.
And it’s easy to see why the issue is so divisive. Plants should be among the cheapest foods to grow and eat, but veganism is frequently presented as an elite, expensive, faddy way of “clean” eating. As acclaimed chef Skye Gyngell says when we asked her for a vegan summer recipe, “We undoubtedly eat way too much meat, but thinking that becoming a vegan is going to cure all the world’s problems is an extremely narrow idea.” Although she is passionate about sustainability and organic farming, her take on vegan curry is more about celebrating the beauty of melons grown in a sun-drenched glasshouse than making a political stance of any kind.
Wildsmith Skin isn’t vegan, nor does it pretend to be (you’ll find honey in one of the cleansers, although everything else is plant-based), but it’s proud to be among a growing number of small and large skincare brands that avoids animal-derived ingredients, and has never considered exporting to countries where animal testing is required. Because as Clemmie Fraser found out in her humorous take on vegan beauty, once you’re aware that the colour in your nail polish might come from a beetle or the glycerine in many moisturisers is derived from animal fats, will you still be so keen to use it?
So whether you’re a committed vegan like Bryan Adams, the subject of our Wildsmith questionnaire; just curious about it, like David Annand, who rounds up the best places to eat vegan; or willing to give it a try, like Kate Morris, whose family rallied round while she toyed with vegan pizza; we salute you.
As for the barbecue – it’s amazing how delicious a well-seasoned Portobello mushroom and some Violife vegan cheese slices, sandwiched between two buns and slathered with ketchup tastes.
With love to you, and all the animals,