If you haven’t seen Aaron’s brightly coloured Instagram feed, you’re missing out. Aaron has been blogging for 3 years on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram and is all about showing you that a plant-based lifestyle is just as easy and enjoyable as any other. He decided to start posting his meals when friends and family presumed he lived off tofu and salad.
His mission is to prove that going vegan doesn’t have to mean going without... his profile and approach backs it up.
“I had been feeling unwell. I wasn’t healthy. And I didn’t realise how big I actually was until I noticed weight loss after a couple of months. I lost 3 stone over 6 months with no exercise. I only applied two additional rules: no processed sugar and whole grains”
“At the time, I thought I was avoiding animal cruelty by being vegetarian. As I got more into it, I realised how much I didn’t know about the cruelty involved in dairy - I watched Cowspiracy and What The Health... and I finally cut out cheese.”
“As I understood more about the treatment of animals, the things I was watching and reading got me thinking about the environment. It’s a win-win way of living. I can’t understand why people wouldn’t try it once a week. But then even as veggie, I didn’t really think about what was happening beyond just killing animals for meat: then I started watching videos. Farm animals are just as sentient as pets, it’s just we haven’t trained them to sit, so people see it differently.”
Despite his rules, the meals Aaron blogs about are abundant with things you would want to eat: among the fresh fruit and veg, you can often find chips, wholewheat noodles and chocolate pudding.
Veeg: What’s your daily diet like?
“I start the day with a massive brekkie, small lunch, and finish with a big dinner. Breakfast fills me up so I don’t need to eat much at lunch and usually have a smoothie and a Naked Bar.
Your pics are full of fruit and veg, the government recommends we get 10 a day (yes, they started with 5 because it was deemed to be less shocking), what’s your intake?
“I probably eat about 10 portions of fruit and about 7 portions of vegetables per day. Smoothies are really good for getting portions in.”
WOW. So what would you say to people who are under the impression that eating more fruit and veg is expensive?
“Veganism has made me more aware of waste. I save money for that reason. For example, plant milk doesn’t go off as quickly and fruit and veg keeps far longer than meat. (Plus it won’t make you sick if it is a bit off.”
“A good way of saving money is by searching ‘vegan’ in the supermarket apps and it will return a list of everything that’s on offer first. I save them in my basket” which doesn’t commit you to buy but helps keep a list of all the items you want to try.
Where do you shop and what’s your favourite thing to eat at the moment?
“All over really, but I shop a lot at Aldi. They’ve got a great range of sausages in at the moment. My favourite food from there are the masala roast cauliflower, red pepper and butternut squash sausages. But generally, I love Asian food: noodles, rice, tofu are all healthy and easy to store and cook.
I don’t do it a lot but I like raw foods / desserts. Chocolate pudding. The recipe use helps to ease any dessert guilt that people might have.
What would you say were the biggest challenges you encountered when going vegan?
“At first, getting over beliefs that I’d be protein deficient. Watching the docs and researching online made me realise otherwise. ‘What the Health’ made me realise I don’t need as much protein as I think.
Learning about alternatives also took time, like egg replacements for cakes. Then products like nutritional yeast and how it can be used to help create substitutes. You get over it after a month. I barely look at labels now.
What changes do you want to see in veganism at the moment?
“I would like to see more people giving it a go. Vegan Society say veganism isn’t perfect...it’s about trying to do your best. If everyone made the changes, it would be amazing. [A paper recently published in Science recently stated that veganism is the single biggest way to save the planet.]
Anyone can do it. My sister went vegan a few months after me because she saw the results. She’s a junk food vegan...but even she’s lost weight eating basically what she was eating before. Even my mum did Veganuary. She’s eaten meat, eggs dairy all her life and she’s now veggie. She used to have reflux and was clearing her throat a lot. That’s gone now and her overall health has massively improved. She has always eaten whole foods though. She loves Magnum ice cream. She rang me the other day and said “Have you heard about it? I had 4 the other day.”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
“Deliciously Ella, Bosh, The Happy Pear, Epi Vegan and Gaz Oakley are all about making veganism accessible by making ‘normal’ food.
My favourite online accounts to follow is @veggievince who is all about breaking the stereotype that you can’t muscle build and be vegan. @pamelaanderson uses her platform to push the agenda: she send faux fur coats to Kim Kardashian and Melania Trump. And Miley Cirus is another.
What do you like about Veeg (had to ask)?
Vegans are loyal and like a family. It’s about keeping the community together and encouraging people to eat at new places. There is so much out there.
Veganism a great community to be involved in isn’t it...
Everyone is happy to talk about it. I’m quite a quiet person but when someone talks about vegan products, I get straight involved.
Sometimes people are like ‘if you’re absolutely starving, would you eat xxx’. Maybe I would. But we don’t live in that kind of world, so it’s a pointless question isn’t it?
Something I read online really stuck with me. Someone said: “I am vegan because I care about the animals, environment and it tastes good. Ask someone who eats meat and they can only respond with “It tastes good”.
Follow Aaron on Instagram @aaroncaldervegan