“I’m practically vegan. I only ate chicken once this week.”
We were at the dinner table and I fixed my mum with raised eyebrows and a wry smile. The younger vegan version of me would have been exasperated, launching into a tirade about how and why that statement was objectively inaccurate: “You can’t be a part-time vegan. It’s either you consume animal products or you don’t. Come onnnn!”
But it’s been eight years since my family has had a vegan in their midst. They know what it entails, and so this bit of banter is not to be taken seriously. I recognise that my mum is celebrating her flexitarian approach and I encourage her progress, with a cheeky challenge to leave the chicken out completely next week.
My vegan journey began towards the end of 2012. I was living in the South of France as part of the obligatory year abroad that came with my joint language degree at the University of Oxford. I was removed from my usual environment and the stresses of intense academia; I suddenly had enough time and headspace to contemplate my life choices. Some people travel to places like Bali and India for a spiritual awakening. I happened to find myself in the sunny city of Perpignan.