How do you inspire change in others? Tammy became a karate champion and went into business
Born to a goat farmer dad and a mum who taught at the local village school, I grew up in an unassuming shack in South Africa – nothing more than four walls and a roof, with no partition walls and no running water. Like my mum, I was a born vegetarian, which was unheard of 35 years ago, particularly growing up in a country where a meat-eating culture was predominant.
I was five years old when dad left the goat farming trade and joined the world of construction, moving us all to the city in doing so. It was during this time that everything changed. Having spent the day inspecting his last building project – a 4,000 sow piggery – he walked into the house and proclaimed that he was never going to eat meat again.
From that moment on we were a family of vegetarians and my parents spent much of their time working on plant-based burger recipes and creating high-protein meat replacements for friends and family. A totally new concept 25 years ago, requests started coming in thick and fast and it wasn’t long before my parents couldn’t keep up with demand for meat-free sausages and patties – they knew they had to up the ante!
My weekends soon became filled with packing boxes, moving stock and, of course, tasting the delicious new meat alternatives! School days, however, were not always so enjoyable. Being the only vegetarian in a school of 1,000 students wasn’t easy, and I faced a lot of criticism about my diet choices. I took up karate and literally fought my way to the top, making the junior national karate team at nine years old, and going on to represent my country in the sport for almost 20 years.
As I progressed in my sport and became the Junior World Champion during my final year at school, my friends became curious and started to ask questions about my plant based diet – it was then that ‘inspiring change’ became my mantra.
After completing my studies, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the family business and decided to start a marketing department – despite my dad initially relegating me to the warehouse. It was in this role that I met my now-husband, who at the time was a professional hunter and devoted omnivore – we clearly had conflicts of interest!
Luckily for me, Richard unknowingly devoured many a Fry’s products at our kitchen table, thinking it was the real thing, and it wasn’t long before he decided to follow a plant-based lifestyle himself. Richard and I now have two beautiful children, Josh and Kai, both of whom do not eat meat – something which they decided for themselves at a young age.
I have dedicated my life to inspiring people to change to a plant-based diet
and wholeheartedly believe in the concept of ‘getting your foot in the door’. It’s not about everyone switching to a plant based diet overnight. For some, the most effective way to make a long-lasting change is by opting for a meat-free day once a week, so Fry’s products are a great way to start reducing your meat intake.
My words of advice to live by: honour your mind, body and spirit daily, and as Mother Teresa said: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one come to you without leaving happier”.
Fry’s products are available in 525 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide, as well as in 600 Holland & Barrett stores and online at Ocado.com
For more information about Fry’s, visit www.fryfamilyfood.com/uk Instagram @tammyfry_ @frysfamily