Celebrity Health - Sarah-Jane Crawford

Radio and TV presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford talks to Liz Parry about her vegan lifestyle and her new vegan restaurant-finding app

© Image of Sarah-Jane Crawford courtesy of Hits Radio

I’ve been vegan since 2015. I was working on ideas for what to discuss on my daily radio show at the time, and we had an idea to emulate Beyoncé’s 21 day vegan challenge. And what started off as a laugh ended up as me going on a real journey of discovery into animal welfare and exactly what I’d been putting into my body. The more vegans that I spoke to and the more films and docs that I watched, the more it cemented within me that I wanted to make a permanent change.

Prior to mid-2015, when I made the change, I’d also had a couple of operations on my body: one to remove a breast lump and the other to remove fibroids. So, I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to make a change from consuming animal products. I wanted to rid my body of hormones that may have been contributing to my pathologies.

I found it surprisingly easy considering I’d never even been a vegetarian in my life previously and had been consuming meat practically every day prior to the change.

I think what helped was my newfound obsession with veggie and vegan restaurants in London. I discovered that I could still grab filling meals and tasty desserts that were vegan friendly if I wanted to and I’d never been aware of these restaurants before. It was then that I developed the idea of building a vegan restaurant-finding app called Viappi, which I released into the App Store this year. I then decided to add recipes to the app to provide a solution for people who want to make their own food.

It was so wonderful to get my teeth stuck into something that was so out of my comfort zone and so new to my area of expertise. I didn’t build the code for the app myself but I worked with a great team headed up by a fellow vegetarian and in doing so learnt a great deal about app development and getting an app approved by Apple.

Since going vegan I feel more clear-minded, although that’s also massively down to the fact that I’m also now completely sober and have been for over a year. When you combine veganism with sobriety you tend to feel amazing. It’s also great for your karma too. You feel good about yourself as you know your diet isn’t harming anyone.

In the mornings I love a smoothie or porridge oats. My NutriBullet is like my best friend and I often pile loads of fruit in along with almond, oat or soy milk, some ice and a scoop of vegan protein powder. I love dates and figs too to sweeten so I’ll throw those in as well. I take a multivitamin from Nutri Advanced as the brand doesn’t contain as many manmade ingredients like bulking agents etc.

I spent a good couple of years living in LA and still enjoy visiting a great deal. Healthy living and veganism is huge out there. It’s been such a privilege to spend time in a city that is one of the best in the world for vegan restaurants and cafes. Plus, the vegan fast food proposition is incredible and really creative. It’s something that I feel could be easily replicated around the world. Also, what’s great about LA is the fact that people really embrace sobriety and in West Hollywood, where I was living, they are no stranger to early morning gym seasons, my favourite being SoulCycle or working out at the Equinox gym.

Holistically, I feel like I take more of a natural approach to my health more than ever. I drink much more water to keep hydrated and flush out toxins rather than popping headache pills all of the time for example. I also meditate more than ever and concentrate on breathing properly from the abdomen rather than the chest when I am feeling anxious or stressed. I have also increased my collection of paraben-free beauty products. I’ve made some little tweaks to my vegan diet too, like cutting out processed foods, microwaving only occasionally and drinking water out of glass bottles where possible to reduce plastic toxins.

I like to vary my exercise and feel great during and after it’s done. Lately in the gym I’ve really enjoyed explosive activities such as medicine ball slams to release aggression. I also enjoy resistance training such as squatting heavy weights and other lower body dominant exercises. Spin classes will always be my favourite go-to cardio escape. I absolutely love sitting in darkness pounding the pedals away to music.

I would suggest that anyone who has newly gone vegan, or who is struggling to make the transition, should look up vegan communities on Facebook to make new friends. They might be able to offer great advice and even company for vegan dinner dates. Also, chuck out any food that may compromise you and go on a new shop for foods you know you like to make it fun.

To download Viappi, the free app created by television presenter and DJ Sarah-Jane Crawford, please visit www.viappi.co.uk. Sarah-Jane hosts a show on Hits Radio (Monday to Thursday 7-10pm) www.hitsradio.co.uk

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