What & why

Why this blog? Why vegan? Why me?

My story about eating vegan is actually quite simple: After a several weeks dating my vegetarian boyfriend, we went on a three week trip to vegetarian heaven: India. After three weeks of not eating meat I thought “Wow, that was easy, let’s see how long it’ll last.” End of story. Or, rather, end of the turning-vegetarian-story…

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[John & I in India, Christmas 2011]

… but after the behavioural change, the knowledge came (usually it’s the other way round ; )). I became interested in animal rights. More and more, I wanted to cut down my cheese intake and also try to substitute things like processed foods with vegan (and in best case, healthier) options. I really began to enjoy plant-based milk and yoghurt. I started using soy flour instead of eggs in my cakes and found it so practical as I didn’t need to buy eggs anymore that I never really liked anyway, and really got into vegan baking.

It took some time to change old habits, and despite using soy-milk and other things regularly, I was still eating cheese, especially eating out. What really made me change was a three-week diet challenge from a German cookbook (“Vegan for Fit” by Attila Hildmann).  This book showed me how to cook without sugar, white flour, processed ingredients and, of course, completely vegan. I loved whole grain bread, vegetables, fruit and nuts before, but steering clear of animal products, refined sugars, white flour and processed foods (a.k.a. cream, cookies, cheese, pizza…) for three weeks was a challenge. Often my goodies are dried fruit, dark chocolate and nuts now instead of chocolate bars, cookies and crisps – but I still haven’t managed to completely get rid of my crisps addiction ;)

What & Why

Anyway, after three weeks of being completely vegan during that diet period, I decided to stay vegan for most of my everyday life. My first vegan weeks looked like this:

instagram

For the first weeks, I felt like, if I don’t forbid myself a few vegetarian exceptions, like when a child shares her yoghurt-cookie with me or at my friend’s wedding, I’m more motivated to live vegan in my everyday life. These situations were so rare though that I decided to stop making conscious exceptions and calling my diet vegan after a few months. My first vegan birthday celebration in 2013 motivated me loads as well, as my family and friends really embraced the vegan food.

vegan-vegetarisches Sommerfest

At the Berlin vegan-vegetarian summer fest, End of August ’13.

collage_flashmob

Happy World Vegan Day ’13! Poster flashmob at Alexanderplatz, Berlin.

I also started to work full-time at an animal charity, the Albert Schweitzer Stiftung für unsere Mitwelt, in November 2013. My work in the ‘research department’ led me to some more substantial thoughts about what veganism is and means, e.g. for the environment and humankind as well, and I really enjoy working there. It also introduced me to activism, like the anti-industrial agriculture demonstration, protest against foie gras dressed as the French Marianne, holding a dead piglet from a factory farm together with 100 other activists in front of Brandenburg Gate, and other things.

Stopfleber-Aktion 22.11

Demonstration in front of the French embassy, Brandenburg Gate, November ’13 – stop foie gras!

WHES Kopie

Wir haben es satt! -demonstration with 30 000 people against industrial agriculture and factory farming in Berlin, January ’14.

AE-Aktion 25 Kopie

Protest with Animal Equality, March ’14 – one of the hardest hours ever. 

Foie gras Kopie

Another one with Animal Equality on World Day against Foie Gras in November ’14, in front of the French Embassy and dressed as the French national figure ‘Marianne’.

I hope you enjoyed reading, either if you’re a vegan, vegetarian or neither – if you wanna share your thoughts, feel free to leave a comment. I know it’s not easy: On one hand, some people tell you you’re not strict enough if you wear anything made from wool you bought five years ago. On the other hand, people tell you you’re a ‘freak’ for being vegan or vegetarian, and make it clear how much they enjoy their triple-meat-burger without a care for animals at all. Somewhere between these viewpoints most of us stand. Find the place where you feel happy, healthy and most comfortable: find your place.  I hope my blog helps :)

Anne

[Last updated December 2014]

15 thoughts on “What & why

  1. I (allthough not vegan) enjoyed reading your thoughts and process to become a vegan. I personally feel very happy to eat meat and other non vegan products! I do sports almost every day of the week and feel that you should not forget about phisical activity in your thought process cause I think that is what makes u burn fat! (such as pizza or crisps) I allthough have been intrigued by the “animal rights” idea that you have been sharing on fb and here! I will continue to let myself open up to the idea of changing from normal milk to soy milk… it will take me a while but I like the idea of more healthy eating very much and will continue to read your blog and follow your journey… say hi to john! grüsse von umme ecke sven

    • This is so nice, thanks for sharing, Sven!
      Yes, as you say, it’s a process that should also include sports and activity and of course takes time. It’s not easy either – neither sports nor changing your eating habits, especially when your surroundings (environmental, financial, social conditions, friends, family…) don’t change. But thanks for your words and let me know if you need some more information or recommendations (e.g. for soy-milk ;)). Grüße zurück an dich & Lauren!

  2. I feel exactly the same way! I found Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks and have basically only cooked vegan food since then. It is so rewarding to cook a delicious meal without animal products that even non-vegans enjoy. Although I am not completely vegan (I travel a lot and like to sample local cuisine without being limited) I do my best. I have found though, working at a health food store, that my actually vegan friends are pretty snobby about the whole thing. As if my efforts don’t count for anything. That is why I am so excited to find your blog! I can’t wait to see what you come up with! (And I am taking German next semester so I can practice by reading it hahahaha)
    wiiiiiiii
    Sarah

    • Wow, thanks for your sweet comment! Happy to hear someone having the same opinion. I actually haven’t eaten dairy or egg products apart from two or three exceptions in the last months (e.g., a three-year-old shared her cookie with me), but as I wrote, I feel it makes it easier for me to apply to these rules when I don’t “forbid” myself something – funny and weird, I know. Maybe if I have the time one day, I should do some psychological research about this, haha (I’m in my last semester of psychology ;)).
      Also, I haven’t been traveling since I turned mostly vegan, so I have to see how that goes (I used to be one of the people who picked the dirtiest shack you could find to experience the “real” Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese/… cuisine and culture :D).
      One of my favourite vegan chefs, Attila Hildmann (his books are only available in German at the moment, but he will publish in the US soon I heard) says “Jedes Essen zählt” – “Every meal counts”. I love this sentence. Your efforts definitely count for something – for a lot, I think! Cause you eat less then probably the average person, without meaning to be insulting, and you are AWARE. This is probably the biggest challenge, society-wise, to get people being aware of what the meat, dairy and egg industry is doing and what they as costumers are actually supporting. Everybody knows pictures from slaughterhouses and battery hens, but being aware (while you eat, while you shop, while you order in a restaurant) and actually changing your behaviour and making right/new/different decisions is a big step. Happy to hear you’re at that point (and happy I got to that point after 24 years as well ;))!
      I will post new recipes step by step and hope you’ll swing by once in a while :)
      x from Berlin,
      Anne

  3. Pingback: It took 25 years, but better late than never: My first vegan birthday! | vegänsch.

  4. It’s awesome that you’re working at Albert-Schweitzer-Stiftung now! I think it’s a great organization! I wish you a wonderful time and experience in Berlin! My dream is to work for a NPO like this one day :) Can I ask you what you did before that? x

    • Thanks for your sweet comment, Avilia! Yes, it is really amazing ;) I’ve been living in Berlin for 2.5 years now and I’ve did my masters in clinical psychology here. I’ve finished my studies in September, so that’s what I did before :) I’m in the research department of the ASS now. X to you!

      • Wow, that sounds amazing! Congrats on graduating! :) I’m going to graduate in spring and don’t really know what my plans will be after that. Your story is definitely an inspiration though :)

      • Thanks so much! Good plan is always traveling as well ;) Wish you all the best for your graduation and I guess we’ll hear from each other soon anyway ;) x

  5. Hi Anne,

    I’m a vegetarian on the path towards becoming a vegan, but not quite there yet. I stumbled across your blog and I’ve tried a few of your recipes, thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work!

    J

  6. Hard to believe that Ms. “Cheese roll” finally turned vegan. I don’t remember any break at school without you eating something with cheese. Maybe your passion to pick and eat each single sunflower seed from your roll before you consumed the rest was a sign in which direction you want to develop ;-)

    I enjoyed reading your story and I’m really happy to see how enthusiastically and at the same time insightfully you talk about your vegan life.
    Although I’m shocked how bad animals are treated, I cannot do without meat. At the moment I’m on a diet and it’s the first time that I don’t quit after a few days. I’m very proud of my success so far but I have a guilty conscience as the diet mainly bases on meat. I’m really impressed by all of you who set a sign but I’m too weak or maybe call me a coward because I cannot change my way of living.

    Fascinated by the versatility of a vegan live I decided to try some of your recipes. Even if I don’t change my diet completely I will exert myself to reduce my consumption of meat.

    Anyway … Anne I wish you all the best for your future. Keep fighting against us murderers and butchers but remain as well as you are – cheerful, clever, gracious – simply Änsch.

    Best wishes from Hessen
    Kyra

    PS: Mein Englisch ist nach dem WK-Martyrium etwas eingerostet, aber ich wollte mich der Umgebung anpassen :-)

    • Hey Kyra,
      so great to hear from you! Haha, I really had to laugh about the cheese roll and sunflower seed thing, well remembered! I actually thought about that recently when I was thinking about the question “What item will help people recognise you in 10 years?” in the Abizeitung – I replied “My cheese roll!” :D Well, times are changing I guess.
      Thanks for all your kind words. It’s great that you can stick to your diet – that’s definitely something you can be proud of! Well, I’m not saying everyone has to be vegan just because I am. I’m happy about everyone I can inspire and love to hear from people who visit my site – even more when it’s people “von früher” like you :) I wish you all the best as well, it’s so nice what you wrote. Maybe we’ll meet some time back at home! Good luck with the diet as well. And: your English sounds great! Guess we had the same teacher ;)
      Alles Liebe <3

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