Last night I gave a public talk around the topic I am most passionate about... "nutrition is the gateway to your optimal self”.
Towards the end of the talk I held up this Nakd bar, and mentioned that it became my gateway to understanding that a vegan diet was not just 'kale and cucumber', before then going on to give a 'bliss ball' demo!
Later, as I was driving home and reflecting on and processing the evenings events, I realised that comment held so much more gravity then I’d ever given credit, than I had ever previously acknowledged before in my life.
So, I'm going to tell you a little story...
Grab a mug of tea and get comfy, or maybe bookmark this for later when you have a clear ten minutes for yourself.
In 2010 my life was incredibly ordinary. Everything was very mediocre. Not bad, but really not great either. Towards the end of that year I met a guy, a vegan guy. Those of you familiar with my recipe blog posts from the very beginning may remember this guy often fondly referred to as 'the boy’.
One weekend on our third date, we went for a walk around a park which led into the town centre where his office building was based (he owned a graphic design company). We had grabbed some lunch from Marks & Spencer’s and were debating where to sit and eat it. He asked if I'd like to come up and see his office as it was on the 12th floor of the building and had a great view over the town. We could sit and eat lunch there.
He was right, the view was amazing, as were the wonderful fluttery feelings I was getting in my tummy.
He took the Nakd bar out of his carrier bag and I looked over curiously, since I had already finished all my food! Breaking it in half he held out his hand, with a bemused and slightly quizzical look on his face.
"It’s just dates and nuts and cocoa all smooshed up together…it tastes exactly like chocolate-orange”, he told me.
"Yeah right" I smiled back.
But I very was curious, and to be honest didn’t want to offend since it was only the third date and all! So I took it.
Mind blown. It DID taste exactly like chocolate orange!
In that precise moment in time, as I sat on a chair on the 12th floor of an empty office block with a guy I barely knew… my entire changed. In that precise moment I realised that a vegan diet was indeed about more than just kale and cucumber... I was holding the proof in my hand!
I still vividly remember thinking, 'maybe this guy is not so crazy after all!'
At that time veganism was not at all mainstream (I’d even had to ask him to explain to me exactly what it meant!) Vegan food options were not widely available and Nakd bars were pretty much the only type of vegan treat you could buy, and only typically available in health food shops. Plus they were very expensive!
From that moment forward my curiosity got the better of me. I made vegan cakes and cookies that he could eat at every given opportunity. I went and bought a £20 food processor on Amazon so I could make my own chocolate ‘smoosh bars’. It wasn’t until about nine months later than my ‘Including Cake’ recipe blog was born, by which time I was now in the thick of it, following a 99% vegan diet myself and seeing so many shifts in all areas of my life.
In conversations with others, I often refer to myself as an 'accidental vegan', since it had never even been on my radar.
Life simply presented me with a guy who turned my world around, who happened to hand me a piece of chocolate orange Nakd bar one day.
A memory I will cherish forever, as it was the gateway that set in motion literally everything that I am today.
He lit the light within me to ‘always be curious’. It is now my deepest passion, and I urge you to get curious about everything in your life, especially the small things so often cast aside… they often have the greatest potential for change.
Loving you all.