Dare you take the challenge | Viva! - The Vegan Charity

Dare you take the challenge

Dare you take

If you’ve campaigned against climate change, joined an environmental group and are greening your life – here’s a challenge you can’t refuse. It is probably the single most important step you can take to help the world. Kim Donovan took it!

Those who believe themselves to be ‘green’ yet who continue to eat meat and dairy, effectively signs their names along the dotted line of global collapse. Many find this a hard pill to swallow. After holding a banner high through the streets of London, during the 2012 climate march, was an awakening that could not be ignored by Kim Donovan from Burnley. Action had to be taken! So Viva! challenged her to put her mouth where her money is and go vegan for the sake of the environment.

Take the veggie

“Taking part in the march made me aware of issues that I previously had no idea about – particularly how dairy production as well as meat is terrible for the planet. It made me think seriously about not drinking milk any more. I simply didn’t know that turning vegan can really make a difference,” Kim says.

The challenge began with an inspection of her fridge contents and taking the first steps in learning just how animal products lurk in so many unsuspecting packages. Numerous things quickly found their way to the compost bin.

Making the leap from being an occasional meat eater who was fond of cheese, to vegan, was a bit of a shock but the journey had begun. Kim explains: “At first I found it hard to give up cheese but I discovered Garlic and Herb Tofutti  (vegan cream ‘cheese’, which I love – creamy smooth)! I found I started to cook a lot more at home, concentrating on a few set dishes to start with that I knew how to make. Finding time to cook made a real difference. The quickest and easiest dish was rice noodles with plum sauce, cashew nuts, raisins, courgettes and peppers. I was never really a big meat fan but I now love mock meats – vegan sausages in particular. You can barely taste the difference.”

Becoming vegan is like anything else you learn – the more you do it, the more time that passes, the better you get at it, and the more you enjoy it. You learn exactly where to head for in a shop and what to look out for. You soon develop a list of favourites.

Kim, 22, told Green your Life: “My favourite foods are Tofutti with Ryvita,
mushroom, pine nut and spinach risotto and vegan ‘cheese’ cake, which a friend recently made for me, it was fabulous.

Eating out is getting easier; I have found there is usually plenty to choose in Indian, Japanese, Italian and Chinese restaurants.

“Becoming vegan has not been as hard as I thought it would be. The more that people around you accept it, the easier it becomes and the longer you do it, the more you know where you can go and what you can eat. Lots of cafes on the high street now do some vegan food, such as falafel wraps, vegan brownies, imaginative salads and soya milk.”

As well as enjoying cutting her carbon footprint Kim, who suffers from a Hiatus Hernia, is also feeling the health benefits of having a plant-based plate.

“The hernia would make me feel quite sick and my doctor said I should look at what I was eating. He never mentioned going veggie or vegan, though! Now I eat a lot more vegetables and have become much more curious about what I eat and am getting goodness out of food. It has made my condition so much better and I feel healthier in myself.”

After watching Leonardo DiCaprio’s eco documentary, The 11th Hour, and following mass disasters across the world, Kim is firmly convinced that she has made the right choice:

“For someone who doesn’t drive, it was hard to find something major I could do to help stop global warming. But now as a vegan, no matter what happens, I know I am doing something which can make a significant difference.”

Think you can follow in Kim's footsteps? Feel inspired to take on the Great Vegan Challenge? For more great advice, tips and information, visit Viva!'s '30 Day Vegan' pages. You can order your starter pack online or call 0117 944 1000 to request a FREE Go Vegan pack.