The owner of Earth Café, Cork’s new vegan eatery, has said that her plant-based diet is the reason for her full recovery from leukaemia.
Carmel O’Sullivan opened the café a few months ago with the goal of making tasty vegan food that’s convenient and accessible, and with thousands of happy customers, it seems she’s done just that.
In an interview with the Evening Echo, she said that veganism “opened up a whole new world for her which she felt compelled to share”.
Speaking about her lifestyle change, she said, “I became vegan literally overnight because I learned exactly how dairy is produced and immediately I felt I could not contribute to the suffering of the animals. Once I became vegan I actually couldn’t believe that I hadn’t done it sooner, if you have a little knowledge, it is not difficult at all.
“Everything I loved to eat, I still could — just the vegan version. YouTube was my best friend for the start as you can literally find every recipe you want on it. People always assume that veganism is too extreme — on the contrary, it is about love, compassion and respect, there is nothing extreme about any of those traits.”
O’Sullivan was diagnosed with leukaemia four years ago in 2014 and went through what is described as a “gruelling” treatment regime.
She continued, “[The] doctors said I had genetic markers which indicated [the leukaemia] would come back in two years, so I literally had to wipe the slate clean, remove all traces of my DNA, and have a bone marrow transplant.”
O’Sullivan had to be tube-fed during treatment in St James’ in Dublin, but she remained a strict vegan throughout. She insisted that the liquid feed was vegan and said it was the one thing she wouldn’t compromise on.
“I fully credit veganism with my recovery,” she continued, “A lot of people went through what I did and didn’t make it out the other side; statistically, 10-15% of people don’t make it through a bone marrow transplant. I’ve no doubt about it and even doctors admit they were flabbergasted at my recovery.”
Earth Café is open 7 days a week with a staff of five, including O’Sullivan and her son, and serves a wide range of comfort foods like scones, pastries, burgers, hot dogs and cakes.
In celebration of Earth Day, the café are giving away 50 free coffees on Sunday 22nd April and Monday 23rd to the first 50 customers who pop in on either of the days. All you have to do is show that you like them on Facebook and Instagram to get a coffee of your choice on the house!
Read more about O’Sullivan’s journey in her interview with the Evening Echo here.