We sat down with Helena Murphy, one half of Omnom magazine *coming soon* to talk all things vegan.
When did you decide you wanted to be vegan? And what were your reasons?
I went vegetarian for a year before becoming vegan. It started as an experiment, to see if I would miss meat, to see if I would become more adventurous in my cooking. It turned out, I didn’t miss meat at all. Over that year, I slowly cut out eggs, butter, milk and eventually all dairy. I had read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book called ‘Eating Animals’ and watched a few documentaries that opened my eyes to the cruelty of the meat and dairy industry and the huge impact animal agriculture has on the planet.
What do you think the most positive result of veganism is?
There are so many positives to being vegan! Knowing that no animal had to suffer for me, feels pretty good. But on a more positive note, I’ve become a much better cook, and have discovered so many incredible vegan traders around London. From doughnuts to tacos, some of the food I’ve eaten over the past year has been better than anything I ate as a meat eater.
What’s the hardest part about being a vegan? Is there anything you miss?
For me, there isn’t really a hard part about my diet. When I first went vegan, I would concentrate on all the things I felt I was missing out on – but after a while I realised I had the wrong outlook. Veganism isn’t about deprivation – it’s about embracing new foods, new recipes and new ideas. I definitely need to exercise more self-restraint than I ever used to. All of these vegan burgers and sweet treats aren’t actually healthier just because they’re vegan….
What is the general reaction to you being vegan? Have there been times when it was difficult for you to explain it to someone because they were so against it?
The majority of my friends and family have been really supportive and understanding, which is great. When I’ve been asked questions about my diet, it’s more out of curiosity than anything else. I’ve only had one negative experience where someone asked me if all I ate was nuts. No, hun.
Talk to us about the inspiration behind Omnom…
My boyfriend and I had been talking about publishing an indie print magazine for a long time. We first wanted to do a travel magazine, but then we discovered Lodestars and it was essentially the magazine we had always wanted to create. Ben said to me, ‘whatever we do, I don’t want to do a food magazine.’ He did a 180 and now, a year later, we’re about to launch our first issue of Omnom. We wanted to show that vegetarian and vegan diets don’t need to be difficult, expensive or boring. We’ve spoken with various people in the veggie/vegan community to find out their stories, share recipes, feature amazing small traders and opened up the conversation around living more sustainably.
Where do you find vegan recipe inspiration?
We have too many cookbooks to count. My favourite is Thug Kitchen – it’s packed full of Mexican recipes for burritos, tacos, flautas… I also use Pinterest when I’m on the go and our own blog has a growing number of simple, easy recipes too.
Can you let us in on any vegan treasures you’ve found?
One of our favourite places to go is The Full Nelson – a veggie/vegan burger joint in Deptford. They have great music and it has a really small, community feel full of regulars. The burgers are insane. They do one called the Sith with Deptford Hot Sauce and it’s everything and more.
More generally, one of the Instagram accounts I found most useful when I first went vegan is called @accidentallyveganuk and they post snacks you can find in the supermarkets that you wouldn’t necessarily know are vegan like Skittles, Starburst, Hobnobs, Bourbons…
Give Omnom magazine a follow: https://www.instagram.com/omnommag