Veganuary – it’s here again, and apparently there’ve been 500,000 wonderful people signing up to the month long challenge – more than ever before! Whether you are new to being vegan, trying to be more plant-based, or have been vegan for years, this month can be a great time for reflection.
I spoke to Scotland’s most glowing vegan, healthy eating and fitness blogger, Naturally Stefanie, about her plant-based journey, and vegan living in Scotland.
Did you go vegan in Veganuary?
I did not – I actually went vegan in May of 2013! I was pescatarian before this and, once I started looking into healthier ways to eat, I came across veganism online and knew it was for me. As you can imagine it was not all that popular on social media 7 years ago and the content around it has changed quite a lot, but at the time it was perfect in helping me find the information I needed to make the change.
Do you think it is easy to be vegan in Scotland?
Oh yes. 100%. The supermarkets in the UK in general are full of vegan alternatives, making it so easy to get pretty much anything you could want. There are also so many great vegetarian and vegan cafes and restaurants, especially in Glasgow and Edinburgh: two of my Glasgow favourites are Mono and Suissi Vegan Kitchen.
So many mainstream restaurants also have vegan options and some even have entire vegan menus alongside their regular menus and my favourite place for that has to be Red Onion!
Do you have any Scottish vegan products you love?
I love sweet food, so my two favourite cake and dessert shops would be Considerit Chocolate and Naked Bakery – both in Edinburgh.
Do you think Veganuary helps people to go vegan?
Yes, I really do! There is so much hype and information surrounding it that it really gets people curious to try the lifestyle without feeling like that is 100% committing for life. It’s more a taste and try before you buy approach, which is so much more relaxed and more likely to attract people.
What motivated you to go vegan? Did you find it easy?
I would say when I started getting interested in the fitness lifestyle I started to be more aware of what I was eating and looking at what kinds of foods I wanted in my diet. Being pescetarian, and a super fussy eater, I naturally found that plantbased foods were much more up my street. I did find it fairly easy, even though there were nowhere near as many food options seven years ago as there are now. However, the lack of ice cream and dessert options in supermarkets was a major struggle for me! Thank goodness for Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy range now.
What do you look forward to in Veganuary?
I honestly look forward to seeing more of my community online taking part and using my recipes and content on social media to help them on their journey. It motivates me to put out more helpful content!
How do you stay healthy? Do you think being vegan helps with this?
I would definitely say I have a healthy diet because I am very balanced in what I eat. I do not restrict myself and love sweet food more than pretty much anyone I know!
I think being vegan made me more aware of what I was actually eating and being into fitness also helped with that, so I am very aware of what food choices I make. I also happen to love healthy food, so that is a win! Except mushrooms… I hate mushrooms, haha.
Tell us a bit more about your blog/business.
When I first went vegan and started talking on social media about my love for fitness and a plant-based diet, there was a severe lack of other content creators doing the same. It seemed you were either a vegan living in Australia doing yoga and cycling or you were a meathead who lifted weights. There didn’t seem to be a blend.
After I started my food blog and YouTube channel I decided there needed to be a place I could share my love for both food and fitness and thus veganaesthetics.co.uk/app was born. I built a community online with thousands of [mostly] women who wanted to eat plant based and build killer bodies in the gym at the same time.
We run 12 week challenges throughout the year which come with home and gym workout plans to suit anyone’s needs, and also a meal guide with tons of super healthy balanced recipes. The community has grown so much and I am so grateful to the thousands of people who have joined me on their journeys.
Since then I have also released my cookbook Naturally Stefanie which focuses on the same style of recipes for a healthier stronger you. It even has a fitness section at the back for some starter workouts.
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