Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Dani Thompson – The Vegan Vamp

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Dani, I’m a London based actress, model, presenter and vegan lifestyle blogger. As an actress, I work mainly in the horror genre and then as a model I mainly shoot modern pinup/glamour so that’s kind of where the name of my blog The Vegan Vamp came from, that and my childhood love of Count Duckula, he was a vegan vampire after all.

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

It was actually a friend of mine who watched a documentary and then decided they were going to go vegan so I decided to join them, this is the 4th year for me now and I haven’t looked back.

When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?

I was already vegetarian and I didn’t eat much dairy anyway apart from cheese so there wasn’t that much for me to give up, it was cheese and boiled eggs with soldiers I missed most to start with but once I got used to not having them in my diet, I was fine. Vegan cheeses are getting better, the Applewood smoked is my favorite but I’m yet to find a really good brie or camembert alternative.

Fashion-wise, I gave up leather when I gave up meat years ago, all of my clothes, shoes and handbags were vegan anyway bar a few vintage pieces that belonged to family members way before I was born and the way I look at it, it’s pointless wasting them and sadly the past can’t be changed to bring those unfortunate creatures back to life .

Do you make any exceptions for yourself or if you are married with kids – your family, when it comes to veganism?

In a perfect world, everybody I know would be vegan but this isn’t a perfect world and I’m not about to preach, if my friends ask questions then I’ll answer them and give them facts but I won’t push them down their throats unsolicited.

I have friends who have asked questions and then cut back on their meat intake massively and given more thought to what they’re buying in regards to things like cosmetics,  fashion and household products  as they just didn’t realize before how bad those industries were so I like to think I inspire changes to be made without being an angry vegan extremist, nobody likes those . . .

I have a dog and she’s not vegan, it’s her choice and I don’t have kids, if I did then I would want to bring them up vegan but I think the world is far too overpopulated already so I don’t plan on having any.

Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?

Well, I think it would definitely make them think twice about what they’re consuming however horrific it might be to watch.

I myself because vegetarian when I was 8 after bottle-feeding a lamb and then realizing that it was going to grow up and end up on a plate, I didn’t need to see the process to work out that it was wrong.

What does being vegan mean to you? For example, does it extend to not killing bugs and bees? Does it include not patronizing vegan companies owned by non-vegan parent companies?

I believe we should be kind to all living beings, including bugs even though I don’t like them! I avoid killing them if I can and I don’t use honey, I much prefer maple syrup anyway.

As far as umbrella companies, it’s really hard to keep track of who owns who but I do my best, that’s all any of us can do. I buy from a lot of independent companies so this makes it a bit easier.

Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?

I think everyone should be an activist up to a point, stand up for and fight for what you believe in, but know the facts and do it properly, there are too many people jumping on bandwagons just causing trouble for the sake of it.

How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?

I haven’t always been vegan so I fully understand that it’s not as easy for everyone just to suddenly change their habits and transition to a vegan lifestyle, I’m here to help, I originally started the blog as I had so many friends, vegan and non-vegan asking for my recipes, I’ve always been a keen home cook and at the beginning, it was just recipes but it’s expanded to cover all aspects of vegan lifestyle.

Any recommended Vegan books?

Miguel Barclay’s Vegan One Pound Meals, because everybody for some reason thinks being vegan is expensive and it’s really not! Gaz Oakley’s Avant-Garde Vegan, Mildred’s Vegan Cookbook, Bosh Healthy Vegan by the Bosh boys and Wicked Healthy by the Sarno’s

Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?

Well mine www.theveganvamp.co.uk  and Instagram/Twitter/Facebook handle is @veganvamplife

Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?

I went vegan without watching all of the films that seem to have had a hand in turning other people vegan so I wouldn’t know what to suggest.

What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?

Ooh, I’m lucky that living in London there are so many, I love The Spread Eagle, By Chloe, Mildred’s, Mooshies, Young Vegans, don’t make me choose!

Please share your favorite vegan recipe?

There are many of my very own over on the website, check out the Jackfruit Puttanesca, the Chestnut Mushroom Bourguignon and the Lentil & Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie, those are some of my favorites.

Some encouraging words for new Vegans?

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a slip, you’re trying, you’ll get there.

What is the vegan scene like in your city?

Amazing, I’m in London and there are new vegan restaurants popping up all the time.

My other home is Norwich and it also has a really good vegan scene!

What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?

Social media is a great place, use the hashtag #vegan and you’ll find all sorts, there are vegan shows and events on all the time, keep an eye out for Plant-Based Events Co, they run vegan markets, night markets and parties all over London as well as outside London, they’re @plantbasedeventsco on Instagram.

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What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?

Well obviously, I don’t condone the eating of humans or wearing of their skins – unless it’s in a horror movie . . .

Jokes aside, of course, people should be kind to each other.

What are your favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?

I am a huge fan of Eden Perfumes, they replicate designer scents with cruelty-free ingredients and at a fraction of the cost.

What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?

I can’t think of anything that I can’t get, years ago when I was first vegetarian, everywhere I went was a struggle to find anything to eat but now there are so many options, there’s no excuse, it’s not hard to be vegan now, it’s a case of whether or not people actually want to.

Faux fur, faux leather, vegan and cruelty-free labeling on cosmetics, it’s just so easy now.

Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?

I really haven’t struggled, there is nothing that I need that I can’t get. Because I cook mostly from scratch, it’s really easy, it’s about changing the way you look at food, learning to substitute ingredients and knowing that you’re not contributing to the harm of animals in any way should be enough to keep you going.

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