Rising star in the UK, Sara Pascoe is acclaimed for writing, acting and stand-up comedy. A standout performer in New Zealand’s 2014 Comedy Fest, Sara cunningly wove her vegan lifestyle into her hilarious narrative.
Why did you become Veg and when?
I've been a vegetarian since I was seven and a vegan for about 4 years. I gave up meat initially after a school trip when I had met a cow. And then switching to veganism was after I had done a play with some Buddhist actors who were vegan and very passionate about it. They gave me a book to read so I tried it as an experiment and felt so strong and healthy. It has genuinely made me a much happier, lighter person.
What’s the greatest thing about being Veg?
Its just a small thing I can do every day to not make the world worse. My conscience does not have any animal suffering weighing on it any longer.
How did you make the changes?
It takes a while to work out what you can eat. I have had to learn to cook better, because for ages I was just eating peanuts and raw chocolate and feeling hungry always!
Was it hard to make the changes?
It is an adaptation, and I would say to anyone trying it, it is definitely worth going easy on yourself at the beginning. You have to eat and your body will crave things at the beginning or you will find yourself stuck somewhere with a choice between a cheese sandwich or nothing and you mustn’t think in these moments that it is 'too hard' or that you have failed, it is just part of the adjustment. Eventually your body stops craving and even starts rejecting and feeling disgusted by dairy and eggs, so it is a process, not a complete 'all or nothing'. At least it was for me.
Are your family and friends Veg too?
My boyfriend became a vegetarian after we met. Like lots of people he really loved animals but had been able to avoid thinking too much about farming practices and to think of meat as 'food' rather than animals. I am not a preachy person (or at least I fight those urges) but I will talk about my food choices if people are interested. One of my sisters is vegetarian too, and the other eats lots of meat and is married to a farmer. I have a huge amount of respect for him and his family and the way they treat their animals though, so it’s not like there's any tension around the dinner table, just very separate meals at Christmas time!
What’s your favourite food?
Avocado on toast with tomatoes and spinach cooked with garlic.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
It used to be Saf in London which is vegan Raw but I believe it has closed sadly. I loved the Little Bird Unbakery in Auckland.
What is a typical day’s menu for you?
Muesli, with coconut yogurt and fruit. Vegetable stir-fry with tofu and avocado for lunch and soup for dinner. I love making soup; that is my very best pastime now.
What do you do for fun?
Make soup! Ha ha. I am learning to play the guitar so I practice on that for fun. Or I go for a lovely swim somewhere.
What do you do for fitness?
I swim and run and do the occasional yoga class.
What is the funniest thing someone has ever said to you about being Veg?
Someone once emailed after seeing me on TV and said I was too fat to be a vegan and must be lying!
Are there any challenges in being Veg?
Of course, but anything that is worth doing will have challenges!
Do you have advice for others about to Go Veg?
Just to jump in and try it, give yourself small goals and targets and see how you feel in your health and digestion. Make sure you get the vitamins and minerals that you need to have energy (your zinc and your B's are particularly important). Plan meals for a couple of days so that you never get home to empty cupboards. ALSO always have an emergency snack or two in your bag. It means that if you suddenly get taken to a restaurant where nothing is vegan you can smile politely, go to the toilets and eat a snack bar and then order a side of fries or lettuce without shouting and weeping at everyone.