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Celebrity Health - Lucy Watson

Made in Chelsea star Lucy Watson talks to Liz Parry about the health benefits of going vegan

© Lucy Watson by Eva K. Salvi for L. K. Bennett

For the past four years, Lucy Watson has been a main character in the E4 reality TV show, Made in Chelsea. During that time, the 25-year-old has pursued a successful modelling career, launched her own jewellery line and become a global ambassador for the animal rights organisation PETA.

Q: You are a big supporter of animal rights and you’re also a vegan. Tell us how this came about.

Lucy: I grew up on a farm in Surrey and I became vegetarian when I was five because I had a close-to-home experience with one of our lambs, which we kept like a pet, but it mistakenly went to the slaughterhouse. It was really traumatic at the time and I became very close to the animals on the farm. I was obsessed with them and it all spiralled from there. Since then I became pescatarian for a long time until I became vegetarian when I was about 20. Then I became vegan earlier this year because I watched a documentary called Cowspiracy. Basically, it shows the effect that eating meat is having on the planet and also shows how the dairy industry is just as cruel as the meat industry, so that’s why I made the decision.

Q: Tell us about your work as an ambassador for PETA.

Lucy: I have had a few campaigns with them. My first campaign was an anti-fur campaign. Growing up and living in London, it is very common to see people wearing real fur and it is associated with luxury, so I wanted to do the opposite and show the cruelty of the industry. When I joined Made in Chelsea it gave me a great platform so I wanted to put it to good use. I did a vegetarian campaign with PETA and I’ve also done an anti-down campaign with them earlier this year.

Q: What is your daily diet like?

Lucy: For breakfast I normally eat scrambled tofu with soy sauce and vegetables, peppers and spinach. I eat a lot of meat alternatives. This can vary from tofu to things like this high protein food called seitan. Also Quorn have created a vegan alternative now. I eat a lot of lentils, brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, vegetables, all those kinds of things. I get quite inventive. It’s a good diet. I don’t feel like I am missing out at all.

Q: Do you enjoy cooking then?

Lucy: Yes. I’ve always been quite a lazy eater and I used to order in over the last few years, but when I became vegan, it became more difficult to do that, so it encouraged me to cook a lot more. Now I really do enjoy it. I cook for myself, and sometimes my boyfriend, and I even cook for my dog!

Q: Is your dog vegetarian?

Lucy: At the moment he eats fish but he has a lot of vegetables in his diet. He eats carrots, broccoli, sweet potato and brown rice. I give him a good diet.

Q: What health benefits have you discovered since you became vegan?

Lucy: Before I became vegan I used to get ill all the time. I’d probably get a cold or something sinus-related every three weeks and that has stopped happening. I feel so much healthier now. Also I have more energy and my skin is really clear. I rarely get any pimples. A friend of mine who had eczema for her whole life turned vegan and she managed to completely get rid of her eczema.

Q: What do you think you might be eating for your vegan Christmas dinner?

Lucy: I love roast potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts – all those kinds of things. I just eat all of those things and then have some sort of vegan meat with gravy. I really want to find a recipe for vegan Yorkshire puddings.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge of being vegan? Is it a challenge eating out?

Lucy: It’s quite hard but I have learnt where to go and which places are best, so I avoid certain places. Luckily my friends are really interested in trying out new places so I’ve always got someone to go with me, and I don’t feel pressured to go to places that I can’t really eat at. It’s becoming a lot more popular in London. A lot more restaurants are opening, which is good.

Q: Do you take any supplements?

Lucy: I have been taking vitamin B12, although I recently stopped taking it because I find it hard to take pills as they make me feel sick. I also take calcium, but I don’t really want to be taking too many pills. I don’t think it is good to rely on huge amounts of supplements so the more natural the better.

Q: Do you make a conscious effort to avoid sugar?

Lucy: I have sugar every now and then but I don’t have a very high sugar diet. I think a lot of sugar comes from dressings, sauces and processed foods, but I don’t really eat a lot of that. I cook with a lot of organic vegetables and rice. I do have a sweet tooth though and I do love the occasional pudding but I don’t eat a lot of processed sugar.

Q: What types of exercise do you enjoy?

Lucy: I do yoga and Pilates. I used to go to the gym a lot and I never really noticed a huge amount of difference in my body. But when I started doing yoga I was becoming a lot more toned and I wasn’t having to do as much to get there. It has a much more positive effect on my body and my mind because I find it really good to de-stress. Pilates is similar to yoga but it’s a bit more intense, so I’ll do that if I’ve had a bad week or if I haven’t worked out much.

Q: Now that you have left Made in Chelsea, what career plans do you have for the future?

Lucy: I want to be doing a lot more with animal charities and to promote and educate people on the issues associated with animal cruelty. I've recently launched my own cruelty-free make-up line, Basic Bitch, which is approved by PETA. I've also started a YouTube channel where I talk about cruelty-free make-up and the vegan diet; I give tips and stuff on there. I’ve got a jewellery brand which I started three years ago and I’m going to bring out a new collection by the end of the year. I’m working towards potentially working in TV again – maybe in documentaries – so we will see what happens with that.

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© In cover image of Lucy Watson hair by Lamphane from Michael Van Clarke

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