Beets and Bobs: The vegan sisters who eat, experiment and inspire

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Amesha and Bishalee Sehijpal, the vegan sister duo from Beets and Bobs, on Punjabi food, supporting local businesses and becoming more experimental.

Amesha and Bishalee Sehijpal are vegan sisters from London who share recipes, reviews and recommendations on their Instagram page. They have grown quite the platform over the last six years, and have both been on separate journeys before deciding to collaborate and share paths as sisters.

Amesha Sehijpal is an English teacher currently working at universities in Lille, France. She first became vegan during her second year of university, when she was around 19 years old. Her diet prior to turning vegan consisted of eating chicken and fish, Goodfella’s pizzas and omelettes; she describes it as “highly processed and dairy-orientated”.

She adds: “It’s no surprise that I didn’t last long on this university diet before I started feeling gross, both physically and mentally.” As a fitness fanatic, she found this phase in her life difficult, as it led to her skin breaking out and she was experiencing issues with her gut. She adds: “I feel much more lightweight and energised working out as a vegan than when I did before.”

amesha and bishaleeTherefore, she took action, researching and watching videos of those with similar experiences and decided to cut out dairy from her diet. “At the time, I didn’t realise I had become vegan, because I hadn’t really heard that term used much before. I started reading up on the terrible impacts of dairy on the environment and the treatment of cattle,” Amesha explains.

Bishalee Sehijpal, a recent History and Russian graduate from UCL, says her sister inspired her to become vegan; she found having someone following a similar diet around the house really helped her stick to her vegan lifestyle. She adds: “We realised we were eating animals, but we never really realised just how bad the dairy industry is.”

This led to more awareness and understanding on different aspects of veganism, and not just within food. Amesha deconstructs veganism as “taking responsibility for how our actions impact the world around us, knowing and connecting with where our food, clothing, etc. comes from”.

 

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Their vegan community was built during a time where many felt uninspired and lost after graduating university, unsure on what to pursue. Amesha created Beets and Bobs to showcase the vegan food she was making, document her vegan lifestyle, and convey how veganism is not limited to food consumption. As their community started to grow, the sisters connected with other vegans, and Bishalee created their blog, which shares recipes in more detail.

This led to the Beets and Bobs duo trying new things and experimenting with their recipes. Bishalee says: “I never even knew what jackfruit or nutritional yeast were before I became vegan. There are such cool ingredients and new recipes out there that I’m learning every week, which is really fun.”

Experimenting further than just in the kitchen, the sisters have found that living in London has enhanced their lifestyle. Amesha says: “Most UK restaurants, particularly in London, have at least one vegan option — who knew you could one day get a vegan pulled pork burger made from jackfruit, or vegan fish and chips? I’m loving this part of my vegan journey.”

 

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A highlight for Bishalee was working with the independent company Nono Cocoa Chocolates. The vegan chocolate company was founded by a mother, with her autistic son as her helper. She places emphasis on hiring those deemed unemployable, including those with disabilities, to help make the chocolates.

The pair tells me about their experience of working with independent vegan businesses: “I think it’s always nice working with small vegan businesses, where it’s actually started from the kitchen, or has such a good social cause.”

 

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Additionally, they hope to work more with social causes in their vegan career. Bishalee explains that many vegan food bloggers work with organisations that provide food for either those who are homeless or living on the breadline in order to combat food waste: “I know during quarantine, all those issues were exacerbated quite significantly. When I see all these food pages, especially the food we post, it’s so much food, it’s excessive.”

Amesha always asks herself: “What’s next?” regarding her vegan journey. She says: “I would love to have a market stall selling vegan Indian food. My dream would be to one day open up my own vegan café for people to relax, catch up with friends, work and just have a positive, chilled time”. Bishalee adds that Amesha has always loved cooking and baking, and so a vegan café almost seems like her destiny.

Additionally, she would like to hold events at the café related to veganism, while linking that to her personal career, aiding people with English and CV writing. She also aspires to hire and work with disadvantaged people in order to improve their lives and inspire them to pursue this lifestyle.

Bishalee touches upon veganism appearing as a trend, and the role of social media in promoting that. She deconstructs it as people who only see veganism as an aesthetic, with “your avocado and brunch”. However, veganism is much more than a trend. She says: “I’ve loved seeing that over the summer. Loads of cookbooks come out from people of colour.”

 

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In the future, the duo also intends on expanding their blog, with Amesha showing her vegan lifestyle in Lille and Bishalee her projects in London. We also talk about the rise of vegan South Asian influencers and how so many South Asians are gradually tapping into vegan food. The Beets and Bobs sisters have been sharing Indian food, especially during quarantine, but Bishalee hopes to share more recipes and reviews in this sector, especially since they have seen a growth in Indian vegans in particular.

Their collaborative yet familial vegan journeys have been all about experimenting and reviewing for their followers. Although, in technical terms, Beets and Bobs are categorised as vegan influencers, they prefer not to go by that, as they want to grow and educate themselves with their followers rather than dictate. Above all, Bishalee says she wants to keep learning: “There is such a big, loving vegan community, and that has been really fun to get to know and be a part of.”

Mansi Vithlani
Mansi Vithlani is a journalism student at City, University of London. A vegetarian her whole life and a massive foodie, she enjoys discovering more about veganism and eating vegan cuisine! She enjoys investigating social media based stories and how its influence has made a significant difference in the last few years.