Reading Time: 2 minutes Vegan Countdown star Rachel Riley (Photo: Chanel 4)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Countdown star Rachel Riley is urging people to ditch meat and dairy – and go vegan this June.

Riley is just one of the famous faces backing Animal Aid’s month-long Summer Vegan Pledge.

She joins Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan, television presenter Jasmin Harman, and entrepreneur and athlete Heather Mills among others in promoting the pledge.

‘Veganism is a win-win’

“I found out that eggs and dairy were making me ill, and once I gave them up I felt like a new person almost overnight,” Rachel Riley said in a statement sent to Plant Based News. “As a big foodie, to still get my fix of dairy and egg-free puddings I started eating in vegan restaurants and found that the food was delicious and interesting and I didn’t need to eat meat.

“Then finally, after watching Blue Planet and going to the Galapagos in 2017 I learnt more about dodgy fishing practices and plastic pollution affecting wildlife, so I finally gave up fish for Veganuary and never went back to eating it. Now I feel really good, still get to eat a variety of really tasty food and can look every creature in the eye, it’s win-win.”

Cruelty to animals

“I decided to go vegan firstly because of the cruelty animals are subjected to in order to provide me with a meal,” Peter Egan added. “I was appalled by the slaughter. Then I realised that a plant-based diet was not only better for me ethically and physically, but it was healthier for our planet also. Once my head and my heart were in union, I realized that to be vegan is the best lifestyle in the world.”

Jasmine Harman said: “I became vegan shortly after becoming a mum; it suddenly dawned on me at the age of 38 that cows (like humans!) only produce milk after having a baby. It sounds so obvious now, but at the time, I had literally never considered it. I guess I just assumed that cows just naturally made milk all the time. As a parent, I could not bear the thought of what mother cows go through when their babies are taken away and often killed; that’s why I went vegan.”

‘Making a difference’

According to Heather Mills, she initially became vegan 25 years ago for health reasons after losing her leg and getting a constant re-infection – which was only cured by a plant-based diet.

“Once vegan I realized I wasn’t harming animals or the environment, it only takes us to care about one of these three reasons to become vegan, and then we naturally make a difference in all three arenas,” she added.

‘Perfect opportunity to try veganism’

Animal Aid Campaign Manager, Tod Bradbury describes the Summer Vegan Pledge as ‘the perfect opportunity for those who care about animals, the environment and their health to try a plant-based diet for a month’.

“It has never been easier to go vegan, with new vegan options coming to supermarket shelves, coffee shops, independent shops, health food shops and restaurants seemingly on a daily basis,” he said.

“By taking the Summer Vegan Pledge you will be helping animals and the planet, and also making positive changes for your health, so why not give it a go?”

You can find out more about the pledge here

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.