Benjamin Zephaniah

Poet and Author Benjamin Zephaniah has been a vegan since the age of 13, and is an advocate of animal rights. We asked him when and why he started his vegetarian/vegan journey.

A: "At the age of 11 I went vegetarian, and at 13 I went vegan. I just knew that I didn’t want to eat animals when I was 11, and when I understood the implications of using animal products, I went vegan. I think my impact on the environment is better now, my health is better, but my main reason is still the love of animals. I just love life."

Q: Do you feel being vegetarian/vegan has supported you through any health issues?

A: "I don’t feel, I know. When you get to my age it’s normal to have various health issues, I know for a fact that my diet has helped me in my recoveries."

Q: What is a typical day of food like for you?

A: "I have always believed you have to earn your breakfast. So the first thing I do is some form of exercise. That could be Kung Fu, running, aerobics, shooting basketball hoops, Tai Chi, or anything that gets me going, then I have cereal of some type. Usually, muesli or Jamaica style cornmeal porridge. I don’t really do lunch, but if I do feel peckish halfway through the day I go for fruit or nuts. If it’s summer, then its mangoes. I like my late meal not too late, around 5.30pm. I like food with fire, I mean spices and peppers. My favourite meals are butterbeans, kidney beans, tofu, dhal, or some other high protein food, with rice, and vegetables that are steamed or lightly boiled."

Q: Anything else you would like to add about your vegetarian/vegan journey or to inspire the readers?

A: "As an older vegan I would say, don’t think that you’re joining a trend, or doing something that’s cool or fashionable. This is about what’s good for you. Being vegan for me is simply me, trying to do the least harm and the most good."