An Interview With Heather Mills

Emma Jane Barlow | 11th June 2015


Interview by Jessica Walsh

Heather Mills has come along way since her infamous interview on daytime TV back in 1993 where poor Lorraine Kelly got a freshly vegan’d Heather, full throttle and in evangelizing mode. As green as the wheat grass she knocked back from a shot glass, she had a beef about meat and was literally crying over cows milk. “I was so new to veganism” she reminisces, with a cringe,”I understand now that being vegan is more than that and it is a process of people trying what works for them.” Sat before me, sipping on a juice, Heather Mills is a beacon of health and vitality and has spared some of her precious time today at the Chester launch of her ‘V Bites’ concession within the flagship ‘Holland and Barrett More’ store to chat to us at Viva.

Heather, you are looking so well! Obviously the vegan lifestyle is suited to you. How long have you been Vegan? Yes, I became vegan when I lost my leg back in 1993 in a collision with a police motorcycle whilst I was crossing the road. It was a case of the doctors wanted to amputate more and more of my leg because I kept getting reoccurring infections. When they said they wanted to take my knee I knew I had to find a better way.

And that was through nutrition and holistic therapy? My friend had won a battle with breast cancer by becoming vegan. She checked me into the same hospital in Florida and my leg cleared up. Just eating clean, raw, vegan foods – the rest of my leg was saved.

Do you find Veganism is a difficult lifestyle to maintain? Flashback 25 years ago and yes, it was. There was little awareness and little choice for vegans. When I bought the Redwood Food Company I knew I had to expand their range.

You travel far and wide with your work. How do you cope in maintaining your Veganism whilst on the road? It’s actually quite easy. I travel everywhere with my daughter (who is also vegan) and we take lots of vegan protein powders and eat well. We went to see the Narwhals in the Arctic and to our surprise, there was a vegan chef at the camp who’d brought vegan supplies with him. Of all the countries I have visited, the East and West Coasts of USA are actually the easiest to be vegan. They have the best prednisone en ligne.

How has it been raising a Vegan child? I was lucky to have been able to breastfeed so she avoided non vegan formulas. She is fitter, taller and stronger than her friends and parents have asked ‘what are you feeding her?!’ She is so healthy and it is because of veganism.

So she was raised as vegan and had no choice? She was brought up on a vegan diet and when she was old enough to make choices for herself they were vegan ones. We were in New York once and she said she would like a Hot Dog. I agreed. We stood in line and waited. She said how lovely the smell was and I agreed. Then she asked what was actually in a hot dog so I suggested she ask the vendor. When she found out, she no longer wanted a hot dog.

Has your daughters experiences growing up a Vegan affected your V Bites range? Yes, totally. I have observed and listened to what people have said they miss when they become a vegan. I really missed the taste of meat and fish when I became vegan. Not everyone is vegan for the same reason. Some, like me, do it for health reasons, so they are perhaps not motivated because of animal welfare for example. I want children to be able to feel less alienated when they make vegan choices – they can go for a hot dog or a cup cake with their friends whilst out on the high street. Having V Bites inside places like Holland Barrett is helping to make this a viable choice. It’s raising awareness and educating.

Your menu looks deceptively meaty. We have a range of products that some vegans might criticize as ‘fake meat’ but I think there has to be a middle ground to make the transition easier. Not everyone has made it as far as they have. Going from one extreme to the other is only going to put people off. If you want to encourage people to try vegan and stay vegan, you have to make the products they miss, like donor kebabs and fish.

I guess being a respected sports woman has strengthened your argument for veganism? Totally. (she points at her flexed bicep). You don’t get muscles like these without protein. People get concerned about where my protein is going to come from in order to make me strong enough to compete with my skiing. I’m going to be 50 at the next Paralympics and do you know what? I’m fighting fit.

Do you think having your concessions on the high street will de-myth veganism somewhat? I knew I had to use my money to educate people about veganism. And it’s worked. What started out as a seasonal restaurant in Hove, the V Bites range is now in 24 countries worldwide so the message is spreading. I wish I was lucky enough to have been raised vegan as a child, because I look at my daughter and she is like a vegan grow bag. People are often concerned about being malnourished but hopefully they will see the V bites range and my Cook book ‘Love Bites’ and realize there is variety and choice. I think the vegan community has to unite over this, only good can come from it.

So what next? Obviously I still have my sports, I have just broke a world record and I will be at the next Paralympics. But for V Bites, it’s a simple case of expand the business and wipe out McDonald’s.

To find out more about Heather Mills, follow her on twitter here.