I think we can all agree that 2020 has been the year of new hobbies due to lockdown and quarantine. You may have taken up a new exercise like yoga, you may have got creative with painting, or you may have turned to veganism and posting recipes on Instagram, which is exactly what Anna, @veganbyanna on Instagram, did. We had the chance to speak with Anna to find out more about her Instagram, and how her following grew so fast.
The vegan brunch page was brought to life in March and now has over seven thousand followers. With recipes varying from smoothie bowls to tofu curries, Anna wanted to use her page to hold herself more accountable to being a vegan. Having been trying to become a vegan on and off for about 2 and a half to 3 years, she was able to have more time on her hands to focus on her veganism and sharing her recipes online when she was furloughed at the start of lockdown.
Anna currently balances her food page alongside her full-time job working in a law firm in London. Currently training to be a solicitor, she is extremely passionate about veganism and sustainability. This was brought to her attention more so when she worked in a human rights law firm after leaving university a couple of years ago.
Like many, Anna found the initial jump to being a vegan hard. She struggled to give up cheese initially but found trial and error worked when it came to trying different types of food. Anna explains, “It’s definitely a case of adding more things into your diet, rather than getting rid of things.”
She started having one meal a day that was vegan before increasing it until she was only eating vegan meals (chocolate and cheese was last!). Constant reminding about the reasons behind becoming a vegan and being shocked by Netflix documentaries helped her to make the adjustment fully.
Getting enough protein was hard initially for Anna. “People think that if you are vegan that you don’t get enough protein, which isn’t true because you can get it from a variety of different sources, which I now know.” She found she was tired and lacking vitamins from her diet being unbalanced. However, Anna now takes regular supplements and is constantly ensuring her diet has enough protein in it from things like Tofu and protein shakes.
Anna’s Instagram page @veganbyanna is very aesthetically pleasing and color coordinated, which Anna tells us is an accident. In fact, she doesn’t tend to plan her content at all. She does use filters on her images which gives them similar tones and shades. “It does take effort but it’s one of the few joys in my life with lockdown here in the UK, and it’s something I really enjoy”. Her page isn’t just a cooking page, as she also discusses sustainability and the impact of fast fashion, which we think really makes her page stand out from others.
Inspiration for what to eat can be hard for people trying to become vegan. Anna likes to play around with ingredients and mainly makes up her recipes. She’s been baking for years so she knows what goes well with what. She uses the odd cookbook and follows people on Instagram, like Deliciously Ella.
Recently in the news, there has been debates over whether plant-based food products should have meat-related names, such as sausages. Anna believes that a burger, for example, isn’t inherently attached to meat and so can still be called a burger. As for the argument that it could be confusing to children not knowing if it is meat or not? “It shouldn’t be confusing to children because you should teach them what is what. You can teach a child that a burger can be beef or vegetarian. The arguments around terminology aren’t worth having. I would have an issue if something was called a vegan beef burger, but terms just like burger should be allowed.”
When asked what clean living and clean eating means to her, Anna tells us she doesn’t really like the term ‘clean’ as it can be quite confusing and has been used a lot in diet culture, which is quite problematic. “In terms of living sustainably, it’s all to do with something outside of yourself. For example, the vegan lifestyle is a lot to do with caring for animals and the sustainable side is caring about workers’ rights and the environment. It’s about making conscious choices and knowing what is important to you.”
If Anna had to eat one meal for the rest of her life? It’s a tough question she tells us. “It would probably be a vegan mac and cheese.” She had one in a pub in Hackney, East London and she’s not stopped thinking about it since! Either that, or a nice porridge she says.
You can follow Anna at @veganbyannaa. Let us know if you try out any of her recipes.