This week we catch up with Hayley Woodruff, who lives a considered, girl-about-West-London bike cycling, pizza loving, biscuit eating Vegan life, helping men and women achieve their health (mental and physical) goals with her little French Bulldog, Lilly, in tow.
Her instagram is flooded with delicious, easy-to-make recipes and below she shares insider tips on where to eat in London and how to approach cutting your meat intake. Hayley is an inspiration for those considering making a change (small or big) and lead an active life, integrating exercise, cooking and wellness into your day-to-day routine.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you're all about.
My Name is Hayley, I’m a personal trainer based in south west London. I work for two boutique studios, Milo & The Bull and Element Fitness, whilst also running my own private 1-2-1 PT business. I offer a more holistic approach to training which encompasses not just the physical element but mental health, building a good relationship with food, recovery and sleep! I’m very passionate about really getting my clients to understand their bodies, their cycles, hormones as one size never fits all, the journey is just as important as the destination. I have a huge passion for food which I’m claiming is a legitimate hobby,
2. And how long have you been Vegan?
I’ve been Vegan for about 4 years (i think!)
3. What made you decide to make the change?
Initially the change was sparked by watching the What the Health documentary. My boyfriend at the time and I decided to try to become vegan for a month and I’ve never looked back. I should probably caveat I was already 90% vegetarian only eating fish occasionally but no meat, I've never really been a fan of meat so that part was super easy. After a while, I realised how much it had improved my gut health having suffered many, many years of IBS (I tried everything over the years with no success) this also made continuing with the lifestyle so much easier. I don’t suffer with those issues anymore.
4. Do you find it more difficult when eating out?
Not really. I'm not a very fussy eater so I’ll always be able to find something on a menu I can have! We’re very lucky in London. Most places are super accommodating even more so now, maybe not so much 4 years ago but it’s so easy now the possibilities are endless!
5. Give us some of your favourite Vegan spots to eat in London…
There are so many… I love Cafe Van Gogh in Oval/Brixton. It's my favourite! The Woodfield Pavilion in Tooting Common also has delicious mostly vegan options. Also Green Cactus in Streatham is the bomb... vegan croissants (enough said)! And I can't not mention Breadstall on Northcote Road which does insane vegan pizza options.
6. Does cooking at home take longer being Vegan?
Nope not at all. If anything it's probably quicker for most things, the key is a colourful and varied spice draw!
7. How do you cope with cutting out food you loved but can no longer eat (we hear you're a sweet tooth monster)
Ha ha! I do have a huge sweet tooth! I’ll be honest it was hard at first especially as everything has milk powder in it. At the start a supermarket shop used to take about 3 times as long checking all the ingredients on every pack! There are some things now I still always pick up in the hope they will have miraculously changed the recipe (chocolate hobnobs being one) this is 90% sweet stuff. My vice is biscuits. But you can find everything in vegan form! So I never go without (now).
8. Do you think people can gain the same balance nutritionally if they don't eat meat?
Yes 100% as with any diet balance is key, eating a wide variety of food groups ensures you are getting all the marco and micro nutrients you need throughout the day. I do supplement Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. Lots of worldwide studies show that a very large percentage of meat and plant based eaters ( so everyone) are deficient in B12 due to the quality of our soil from over farming so vegan or not this is something we should all be aware off. On top of this vitamin D in this country during winter is a must!
9. What top tips do you have for people considering cutting back on their meat intake?
Do it! But seriously start small making a few substitutes a week then introduce more and more eventually you’ll find you are more plant based and you haven’t even realised or missed the meat. There are so many delicious alternatives out there now, I think most people would be surprised at how good they are!
10. How do you think leading a vegan life has impacted your body?
Personally I feel like I operate much better on so many levels, Physically and mentally. I’ve always got tons of energy, I very rarely get that mid afternoon slump or mental fog, I never really get ill, I sleep well and as I mentioned before I have (touch wood) not had any gut problems for the last few years. I feel strong and healthy.
11. What documentaries have you watched that you would recommend people to see that may aid their decision making process to become vegan?
The first one I watched was What the Health. I'll be honest... I personally think that whilst it's very good at highlighting some major issues morally and environmentally with the meat and dairy industry I also think it’s very, very biased and when educating people or trying to sway people’s opinions this very heavy handed approach can sometimes have the opposite effect to the viewer. More recently Game Changers. I think does a much better job of delivering the same arguments but it's incredibly informative and clever in its delivery. What is even better though is the interview that follows it with director James Wilks on Joe Rogan's podcast - this is a must watch! Also you must watch My Octopus Teacher. No words.
12. If you could use any of the vegan beauty products from our Seekology edit - what would your dream gift be?
Bergamot & Musk Body Oil by Rebel Blends. I love all things Bergamot! Such a divine smell. Any of the nail varnishes from Handmade Beauty. I wear nail varnish often and these sound amazing. The Rosalena Skincare range sounds dreamy too...
Thanks so much for sharing Hayley. We've loved hearing your insider tips and how positive minded you are about living a Vegan life. We have already cut our meat intake and your documentary recommendations are on our weekend "to watch" list.