Brought up in a vegetarian household, it has still been a revelation for Tally after going vegan.
Ithink we can all agree that, as young kids, we adopt our parents’ values and lifestyles. I suppose we don’t really have a choice in the matter – we simply eat what we’re given and acquire the behaviours and attitudes we see around us. So therefore, I’ll admit I had a pretty easy way into the veggie lifestyle. My parents went vegetarian in the 1970’s, a time when it was a rare and strange thing! My mother, actress Carol Royle, is patron of numerous animal charities, and has always fought for animal welfare in her work and personal life, and my dad is an equally passionate, animal loving health buff. All this has meant that, since I was old enough to understand the world around me, I’ve known that animals are to be respected and loved.
My family weren’t vegan when I was born and so I grew up vegetarian, (although we never bought or drank cows milk). As a teen, I would hear about veganism and admire it, but I’d often say to my friends that it was ‘extreme’ and I could ‘never give up cheese!’ (To think that was only a few years ago!) This all started to change though as I grew older, and started to educate myself more on the dairy industry. (My parents would never talk to my brother or me about dairy or meat industries, that was up to us to read about if we wanted to.)
Among other things, I watched the now famous Cowspiracy and realised that, by continuing to consume dairy, I was actually still supporting animal cruelty! I had spent my life adoring animals and believing that by being veggie I was doing everything I could not to fund their suffering. I might quickly add here, that being veggie is fantastic and powerful, but I just knew I couldn’t continue to actively promote animal welfare while tucking into a four-cheese pizza.
Time to take the plunge
So, cut to me, age 20, living in a top floor flat in Kilburn, North London, with my girlfriends from university. I was in my final year, about to graduate as a Bachelor of Music with a dream of being a songwriter. My dream didn’t just stop at ‘singer’ though, I dreamt of using whatever status I could hopefully acquire to help spread the word on animal welfare and make positive change. I wanted to play my music at veggie festivals, work with animals, write for pro-vegan publications – and so that’s when it became clear: I simply had to practice what I preached! I couldn’t possibly spread the word against animal cruelty when I wasn’t going the whole way myself. So I did it – gave cheese and eggs the sack.
Well, I can’t tell you what a transformation such a small change had on me. I actually developed an entirely new and ardent passion for food that I simply didn’t have before. I’d spend my evenings hooked reading vegan cookbooks and scrolling recipe videos, and my meals became so much more satisfying and exciting, because I knew I had a totally clear conscience – it actually made the food taste better. (Any vegans reading this know that exhilarating SFV moment, like when you’re reading the ingredients on a pack of Co-op jam doughnuts and they’re all clear. Enjoyment levels truly soar.)
And the family came too
Of course, being a soy-milk reared vegetarian all my life meant it really wasn’t too tricky for me to take the next step, but it still managed to transform my experience of food. My family also went vegan with me, which made it so much easier and rewarding. I have also become more mindful about other areas, such as herbal remedies and vegan skincare – my father (bit of a hippy, like all of us) totally swears by herbal remedies for all ailments, and I’ve found myself increasingly interested in this field after going vegan.
Since I was a toddler I’ve been given homeopathic remedies for illness, and natural remedies such as garlic infused maple syrup for coughs and colds, (such a winning trick!) I’ve swapped make-up remover for coconut oil, which I’ll always carry around with me when I travel, and have opened my eyes to organic and all-vegan make-up brands. It is such an exciting and rewarding way of life, and a community that is honestly growing as I type. I can’t wait to get more involved in the vegan world and keep spreading the word.
Tally’s latest single: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS41UXnnfoM