Around a year and a half ago, my friend Harry dropped a bombshell: “I’m going vegan.”
Our friendship group met this news with ridicule: “You can’t go vegan, what about all of the places where we eat out? What about Nando’s?”
The popular and simple chicken restaurant has been a staple of our friendship group for more than 10 years; whenever we can’t decide where to eat out, it’s Nando’s. Whenever we want to meet up but don’t want to go out for a drink or watch a movie, it’s Nando’s. It’s chicken. So for a group of meat-loving idiots, our friend’s lifestyle change flipped our world upside down.
As you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking ‘if this is all about Nando’s and chicken, why not just go vegetarian?': it’s much, much more than that. I grew up in an Arab family, it was eggs, cheese and various meats for breakfast every day. Lunch and dinner was more dairy and meat, my meals were filled with oily, fatty foods and sadly as you age, your body can’t really deal with such an unbalanced diet anymore - and neither can the world.
So why am I going vegan? If I’m honest, it’s not just because it’s the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on the earth. It’s a challenge to myself. I’ve never been able to stick to a diet or a gym routine… or any kind of change to my usual routine, in fact. I’ve signed up to the gym in January with a “new year, new me” attitude and forgotten about it by February – I fit the stereotype. It’s just not who I am, or, rather, who I was. Going to visit family will be a challenge, when everyone is eating the oily goodness, I won’t be able to join in. Birthday parties will be a challenge, outings in general will be too but I’m taking a positive and excited mindset into this. In recent weeks I’ve taken up running, a boxing class and from 1 January, I will be changing how I eat and drink every day.