The Derry-born, Cornwall-based fashion and food blogger Áine Carlin on her first book, Keep it Vegan, and how veganism doesn’t have to equate to mung beans and sandals…
On her veganniversary
I’ve been vegan for four years this year and the turning point was when my husband was working in Chicago. I had always enjoyed cooking and trying the new ingredients there; we were never really into fast food, and I was cooking from scratch, essentially. Nevertheless, our health took a downward spiral. We were really lethargic; we were putting on weight and just weren’t feeling our best. So I decided to look closely at the fresh ingredients I was using, and I don’t want to say the horror story unfolded, but I probably never really made the connection before about where exactly my food came from. It had a huge impact on me, so we decided to cut out the meat and dairy.
On dispelling the vegan stereotypes
As soon as someone hears you’re vegan, they immediately think you’re some kind of crazy hippy. I’m obviously a very normal girl, and I enjoy all the normal things in life, like going for dinner and socialising, so I’m trying to normalise veganism and show that you can totally have a meat- and dairy-free lifestyle and it doesn’t have to impact upon your own lifestyle.
On eating out
It can be tricky at times. It’s never impossible. You probably have to make compromises depending on what restaurant you’re in. Wherever you go, there’s going to be something – every restaurant is going to have a baked potato and salad, and if you know where you’re going and phone ahead, I’d be very surprised if the chef wouldn’t create something for you.
Her recipes most likely to convert non-believers
The macaro-no cheese is so rich and so tasty, and anyone I have ever served it to absolutely loved it. And I recently brought my morning oatjacks to a barbecue. One of the guys was really unconvinced, and he ended up eating the whole bowl.
Keep it Vegan (Kyle Books, €22.35) is out August 28. Áine blogs at peasoupeats.com