Elizabeth Day and Mabel’s chat about “failing” at veganism are a reassuring January listen

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Singer Mabel shared her failures with Elizabeth Day on the How To Fail podcast, and her words on insomnia and veganism are totally relatable.

Mabel is the award-winning Gen Z singer, who is currently nominated for three Brit Awards this year (Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Female Solo Artist). This week, she joined Elizabeth Day to talk about her failures on the How To Fail podcast. In a refreshingly frank chat, Mabel opened up about being bullied at school, being a woman in the music industry and handling panic attacks.

But there were two conversation threads in particular that many listeners will no-doubt relate to right now. Mabel chatted about her failure to sleep and failure to keep up veganism. 

Speaking about the insomnia she has always experienced, Mabel said it started when she was really anxious about going to bed as a child.  Sleepless nights is something she continues to experience, despite her tiring schedule. 

“My brain just won’t stop,” she replied. “I’ll lie down and, people are like don’t look at your phone half an hour before going to sleep, but my brain will just be at 100.”

She continued: “Yesterday, I was so tired, I’d just got back from Seville… exhausted. I went to bed at about one and couldn’t sleep until five because my brain was just saying ‘oh and this and that’. It’s because I care about things a lot. I care about what I do so much.”

Explaining how she attempts to combat insomnia, Mabel added: “Exercise is actually the best thing for me. Not going crazy and doing like an hour and a half of cardio, but just moving and getting going. The endorphins will make me feel more awake than sleeping an extra hour in the morning. If I just got for a run. But yeah the sleeping thing is so frustrating.”

But the singer also highlighted an important lesson to remember if you’re suffering with insomnia. 

“I guess I try not to get too angry with myself,” she said. “Somebody said to me that the best thing to do is just leave the room so that you don’t connect that with the negative energy when you walk into your bedroom. 

“So most of the time if I can’t sleep I just get up do something else, read a book.”

Mabel talks to Elizabeth Day on the How To Fail podcast.

Mabel also talked about something that many of us might be experiencing in January: “failing” at veganism. 

“I started [veganism] when I was 19 or 20,” she said. “Just doing that full mind, body, soul, hot yoga thing. And I thought ‘oh everybody seems vegan and cute [laughs].’”

She then pointed out the biggest challenge she found while eating a vegan diet.

“I tried it and it gets really hard when you’re travelling. I found that I was eating more unhealthy this year when we started travelling and being vegan. Because you kind of just end up eating loads of carbs. 

Giving a relatable example, she continued: “I went to a restaurant in France and said I was vegan and they just gave me dry salad and chips – and that was literally how I was eating. Because I was so determined that I was going to stay vegan. I don’t even know for who and why. I was like ‘I am a vegan so I’m just going to eat bread and chips and salad for three weeks because that’s all there is’. 

“Then I realised that actually it’s really important to be feeding yourself and get the right amount of protein, especially when you’re not sleeping. Your diet is really important and I realised I could eat healthier if I occasionally ate some fish. It had just been another one of those things where I was just so determined to not quit.”

Day asked if there was societal pressure.

“I guess yeah kind of,” Mabel replied. “I’ve always been very into the environment and conscious of the fact that our planet isn’t disposable and there’s things that we have to think about like the things that you put in your body, not only how that affects you but how that affects the planet. And I hate that mentality of ‘what I do doesn’t make a difference’. Nothing makes me angrier.”

Listen to Mabel on Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail podcast 

But she concluded by agreeing that we can only ever do our best.

“Now I’m in a place where I’m conscious, and that’s the most important thing,£ she said. “So I guess if you spread more awareness of that, you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian, but even if you just do meatless Mondays, have less dairy or know where the meat you’re buying is from – just be more conscious.”

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…