My first steps into veganism were unlike most people's. It wasn't meant to happen. I often tell people, "One day I was eating food - the next day I woke up and started eating vegetables." I've not looked back since! My circumstances at the time were equally unusual. Within a very short space of time, I lost my mother and left my wife. My life was in turmoil. I felt isolated. I sought some kind of stimulation to make things seem worthwhile. Then one day I woke up and altered my eating habits at the flick of a switch. As a newly single person, it is all too easy to slip into lazy ways in the kitchen (or by avoiding the kitchen, even). 

I was aware of the health and environmental benefits of a wholefood, plant-based diet. I have veganism around me in my sister, daughter and a close friend who is also a Team GB athlete. I knew it worked. Having once looked down the barrel of death's shotgun at very close range in 2009, I value my life and I value my health. I am grateful for both. I wanted to be free from all medication. Leaving my marriage enabled me to come off anti-depressants. Now all I had left were the statins that I'd taken for many years to keep my cholesterol down. Could this vegan diet help me? At a time when my middle age was beginning to spread a little, could I turn all my negatives into a positive and turn things around?

I'm not pure vegan. But I am about 99%. I occasionally turn a blind eye to the odd packet of non-vegan crisps, and I drink non-vegan alcohol. I'm not an animal rights activist. I'm not even an animal lover, I have no pets and no intention of having any in the future. However, I hate cruelty of any description - towards people or towards animals. You don't have to be a particular lover of any living thing to be able to hate cruelty towards it. But here is the interesting thing - the more you begin to realise just how easy it is to live a vegan life, and how easy it is to remove yourself from a lifestyle that depends on animal abuse, the more you begin to feel that it is right to do so.

I shall not preach veganism. It is up to each individual to make their own decisions. But I would like to share my own experiences and help people to make their own decisions. After four months, I am finding it very easy and enjoyable.

If it interests you, don't think you have to put yourself under any pressure or duress. Be as vegan as you like. It's not a religion or a set of strict rules that you must obey. If you want to be vegan only six days of the week, that's your choice. If you want to try the odd recipe, just do that. If you want to completely immerse yourself into veganism, then you may find that it's surprisingly easy. 

Since I emabarked on this healthy-eating lifestyle, I have taken up long distance running. I have recently completed three 5 km Parkruns and only a few days ago managed a 16 km (almost 10 miles) run. That's not to say, of course, that I couldn't have done it before, but veganism certainly hasn't held me back.

7th August 2018