As the only black kid in my primary school playground, animals had become my friends. By 15 I was vegan, although I didn't give up honey until 16. For a while my mother thought it was just "a rasta phase". … I can honestly say I've not been tempted to give up veganism in 27 years. I sometimes smell a chip shop and like the smell but then feel guilty because fish might be part of it. But I'll go home and make vegan chips. After all these years, my favourite food is my mother's butter bean stew with whole potatoes, yam and dasheen. I don't think I've ever made a meal for her, to be honest. I think she would consider it a failing of her motherhood and say "Boy, get out the kitchen."
One day when I was 11, I asked my mother where did meat come from and she said from the butcher and I said where did the butcher get it from and she said the farmer and I said where did the farmer get it from and she said the cow and I said where did the cow get it from and she said – it is the cow! A shudder went through me! … I read a book about how humans drink milk that was meant for the animals’ young and I decided I wanted to disturb the animal kingdom as little as possible. But it was sometimes difficult to explain why. One day a kid gave me an ice cream and I said I didn’t want it because it had milk in it and milk belonged to babies. ‘You’re a vegan’, he said – and I thought he was calling me a nigger or something so I went to beat him up. He was yelling, ‘No, no, it’s a good thing!’ I was quite proud then because I was the only vegetarian or vegan I knew. … I passionately love life and I understand now how important love is to me. I really think about the true meaning of the word – that and compassion. If I have just one sentence on my tombstone to be remembered by it would be, ‘He tried to love every body’, with everybody as two separate words.