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…
[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 ;)
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:
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.
At the Berlin vegan-vegetarian summer fest, End of August ’13.
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.
Demonstration in front of the French embassy, Brandenburg Gate, November ’13 – stop foie gras!
Wir haben es satt! -demonstration with 30 000 people against industrial agriculture and factory farming in Berlin, January ’14.
Protest with Animal Equality, March ’14 – one of the hardest hours ever.
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 :)
[Last updated December 2014]