Ultramarathon runner and busy parent
I’m Kurdish, from Iraq, and it’s a really meat-heavy culture. It’s only just recently that you’re starting to see things like Kurdish vegan accounts on Instagram – before, it was completely unheard of.
My husband Gabriel is English, and we’ve been vegan for about seven and a half years. It started when Gabriel went on a trip to Nepal where he ate a mainly vegan diet and felt really good on it. We talked about it, and we couldn’t justify eating animal products if we didn’t need to.
My daughter Sophia was eight at the time and she chose to go vegan with us. Our other two, Sefin and Evin, have been vegan from birth.
We’re an incredibly active family. My husband and I both used to play roller derby, and Sophia is a swimmer and a runner. The kids are always just bouncing off the walls – they’ve got heaps of energy.
I run ultramarathons – I’ve got three booked in for this year. I don’t do things by halves, which is good and also a bit stupid maybe! It’s slightly crazy – the races are over 60 miles long. But I do really enjoy it. I get to run away from my husband and kids and spend the whole time eating. What’s not to love?
With my middle one, I ran a half marathon with him while I was about 25 weeks pregnant. I always used to take him out on buggy runs when he was a baby.
Life is busy
Life is busy! I like to cook our meals from scratch, so I do a menu each week. I don’t have time to think about what I’m going to cook each night – especially when Sophia has her swimming practice, she might be out of the house by 5am and back past 7pm so food needs to be ready.
There are lots of recipes that we use again and again. I have an Instant Pot, which is incredible. It’s a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, a steamer and a rice maker all in one – and it has a keep-warm function. It’s the best thing ever.
Our diets are really balanced, but we also use VEG 1 multivitamins from The Vegan Society, just to cover all the bases.
I’ve managed to adapt a lot of Kurdish dishes too, which is nice. You may be from a cultural background that doesn’t make it easy to go vegan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the step. You never know how many people you might influence – for example, my aunt has gone vegan, and some of my uncles have asked me about it.
When the Vegan and Thriving campaign launched, we took part in a photoshoot for some of the adverts. I was due to give birth that week but I was sure it would be fine. It was a really good experience – to participate in promoting veganism as a viable, healthy, workable option for families – not just for people with loads of money. You really don’t need heaps of money to be vegan.
The word ‘thriving’ means a lot of things to me. As well as feeling fit and healthy, it’s a really good feeling to know that you’re contributing positively to the planet and the living beings we share it with.
Has going vegan helped you to thrive? If you have a story to share, please get in touch.