An Uckfield woman talks to Charlotte Harding about adopting a vegan diet.
January is the month where the excesses of the festive season mean many of us decide to give something up in a bid to reset the balance.
With December seeing mountains of cheese, turkey and ham on the menu, taking a break from meat and dairy may offer some welcome relief in the new year.
Veganuary launched in the UK in 2014 and encourages people to try vegan in January.
Alexandra Sadler has been vegetarian since she was 11, and has been vegan for about a year.
“I basically copied my best friend who was a vegetarian,” she smiles.
“I knew that when I had meat it was a dead animal on my plate and I loved animals so I didn’t like the idea of eating it.”
Becoming vegan came after she watched the films Earthlings and Cowspiracy, which looks at the environmental impact of meat and dairy production.
Although Alexandra admits that she was ‘pretty much vegan’ for a few years she still loved chocolate and cheese.
“It got to the end of the 2015 and I felt as if I was eating too much and felt fat and unhealthy,” she reveals.
“I came across veganuary and decided to give it a go.
“I felt so much better, I lost some weight and my skin improved, it just made me realise I could do it.”
However, Alexandra adds that had she tried five years earlier she doesn’t think she would still be doing it as there are now so many more options out there for people who still want to enjoy cheese and chocolate.
“My brother eats meat but now has almond milk instead of cow’s milk,” she says.
“If going vegan for a month just makes people cut down on the amount of meat and dairy then that is a good thing.
“Maybe have a vegan Tuesday as well as a meat free Monday.”
Alexandra tried it for a month and decided to stick with it as she liked the way it made her feel, but says that if others want to go back to eating meat that is fine.
“It isn’t a competition to be the best vegetarian or vegan,” she explains.
“If you decide to stick to it and have an accident and eat meat or dairy don’t beat yourself up about it.
“It is about making small changes in your diet and if you want to stick at it then great.
“I don’t pass judgement if people ask why I am vegan I tell them but each to their own.”
As well as giving up animal products in her diet, Alexandra also uses vegan beauty products.
“I have always been interested in hair and makeup,” explains Alexandra.
“I would watch my mum and grandmother, who was an Italian model, do theirs and would be fascinated.”
Growing up Alexandra always loved vintage make up and the glamorous looks of Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe.
“Whereas people would look up to Beyonce I would also look back to the stars of the 40s and 50s,” says Alexandra.
“When they think of vintage people think of the 1940s and 1950s but I love the 60s, and because of The Great Gatsby the 1920s are still popping up as people are holding parties in that theme.”
In November, 2016, Alexandra set up Very Bettie which offers makeup and hair styling services.
And Alexandra came across beauty brand Arbonne after a recommendation.
“There are loads of vegan brands out there,” she says.
“I needed a new mascara and shampoo, and someone recommended I give it a go.
“I am all about the mascara and using a decent shampoo, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown in the shower after using the shampoo as it was just amazing.”
So what tips would she give people on incorporating a little bit of vintage into their life if they don’t feel confident on going the whole hog.
“Introduce small bits, such as brighten up your face with a nice blusher or a red lip,” she reveals.
“Then you may feel you can do some pin curls or victory rolls and build from there.
“I wear red lipstick to walk the dog but I know to many wearing it can feel courageous.”
Be it going vegan or trying a new look January offers a world of new starts.
For more information on Very Bettie, visit www.verybettie.com
And for more on Veganuary visit veganuary.com
This featured in the January edition of etc Magazine