Comedian and host of Hughesy, We Have A Problem Dave Hughes reveals why becoming a vegan has been a “miracle” for his body and how staring at a wall ended up changing his life.

You became a vegan in 2019. Is it just you in your family who has taken up veganism? And how has it changed your life?

It’s just me at the moment. My wife eats very little meat and she eats dairy. I’ve found [the vegan diet] really good. It gets a little tricky when you’re looking at a restaurant menu and it’s limited. For me, it’s well worth it. Apart from all the ethical considerations and it being better for the environment, it’s also better for my body. I just turned 50 and I can run every day now without getting sore. It’s actually a miracle – I’m going to call it a miracle! I’m running 5km in just over 20 minutes. I’m shocked by how good my body is at the moment. I woke up stiff and sore for 15 bloody years, I reckon. Now I can go down the stairs in the morning without going sideways – I go front ways because I’m not sore at all.

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You’ve started meditating recently. How did that come about?

I’ve been interested in meditation since I was young, probably since my late teenage years. I did a little back then, and I always promised myself I’d get back into it. Last year, maybe [because of] COVID or whatever, I decided to commit to it properly and it’s been life-changing. I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s invaluable for life. There’s a world beyond your thoughts, and that world is where the real joy is.

How do you meditate?

I do it twice a day, in the morning and the evening – or just whenever I can. I turn off the phone or place it on flight mode, and set an alarm for 20 minutes. I like to have my eyes open and I basically stare at a wall. I focus on my breathing – on my breath going in and out of my nostrils. That’s what you want to focus on, that breathing. Look, your mind will wander and that’s natural. But the practice is bringing it back to the breath. It’s not about how many times your mind wanders, it’s about noticing it’s wandering and bringing yourself back to the breath. It’s honestly changed my life.

Your panel series Hughesy, We Have A Problem is back for a new season. Are you still enjoying it?

Absolutely. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this show – any opportunity to have an audience and get a laugh, I’ll take. Laughter is a very important part of life. We should all laugh at the silliness of life. Obviously in the past year, we’ve all been going through experiences that are different and difficult. We need to laugh when we can. We’ve been knocked off our tracks, I suppose, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s made me grow, I think. It’s made me stronger.

Do you have a favourite solved “problem” from the show thus far?

We had one where an audience member wasn’t allowed to have an animal in their flat. We got the building manager on, and they agreed to allow the pet. We solved the problem and brought out a rescue dog from a shelter for this woman to take home. That episode went to air, and my wife – who’s a bit of a cynic – said, “Did that woman really adopt that dog?” And I told her that it looked like she did. But she said, “Can you ring the producer and find out if she definitely adopted that dog?” So I rang and they said, “No, she didn’t want the dog.” I told my wife that and she said, “Is the dog still up for adoption?” The producers said yes… So we adopted that dog, and that dog’s name is Bubbles. Bubbles is the gift that keeps on giving.

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