As TikTok continues to become a go-to app for sharing the best places to eat and drink across Northern Ireland, a woman from Belfast shed light on the best vegan recommendations.
Sophie, alias @soapybubz, became an instant hit on the video-sharing app, as its plant-based recipes and reviews of the city’s vegan restaurants underlined just how diverse the food scene is in Belfast.
The 25-year-old told Belfast Live about her journey to veganism and what inspired her to share her story online.
She said: “Whenever I was growing up, I always loved animals. I have vivid memories of being eight years old and seeing ads for animals being abused and I remember being upset and telling my mom that I didn’t want to eat animals anymore.
“As you know, dinner time was coming and I just ate whatever was on the table because I was just a kid. But as I got older it became a little easier to learn about the environmental impact of farming, I felt guilty and that was something I would always do someday but it was never the right one moment.
But Sophie says she finally decided to change three years ago after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“I started researching anything I could do to improve my health and be healthier to aid my recovery and one of the things I read a lot about was diets that minimize fat. saturated and a really easy way to do it was to go vegan. I just thought that was the push I needed to do it and it gave me really good motivation to do it and that “That’s when I finally did it. It was kind of a gradual journey, but after a year of transition I was completely vegan,” she explained.
Sophie decided to join TikTok after being laid off from her previous job and now has nearly 24,000 subscribers and her videos have been viewed over 637,000 times.
She continued, “I loved watching recipe videos, but I kept showing a lot of videos that were not about me, so I thought maybe there was a gap in posting recipes. easy and affordable vegans, so I gave it a try.
“There is a great community on TikTok, in particular a great vegan community that always recommends different products. I strongly believe in small changes and we don’t need everyone to be vegan and I think it’s really cool when someone comments and says they are a meat eater but have tried them. recipes and really enjoy it.
As for her top picks for a delicious vegan meal in town, Sophie said there are too many to choose to have just one favorite.
“Belfast is amazing – considering the size of the city we have such an amazing food scene and I think you would be hard pressed to find a restaurant without a vegan option.
“Jumon is fantastic and I love the Chubby Cherub because you can get vegan pizza which is just amazing that we can have it now.
“Buba in Sainte-Anne Square is also amazing and La Taqueria too,” Sophie added.
Her advice to anyone considering adopting a vegan lifestyle or looking to make more sustainable choices in their diet is to start small and enjoy what you eat. I think a really important thing is to think of it as a positive life change and to see it more as a fun activity where you try new things and it can be exciting rather than feeling like you are depriving yourself of things.
“You have to change your mindset to be excited to try alternatives that you’ve never had before,” she said. “Make sure you do it gradually – making it from the cold turkey, pardon the pun, is just awful and I don’t know how anyone could do it.
“This is a huge change and your body might even panic no matter what your craving, so I would say gradually introducing substitutes like a different milk into your tea would make things a lot easier.”