My vegan story!
This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
For me, cooking has always been fascinating. When I was still a little girl my daddy already put me on a chair right next to him in the kitchen, so I could see what was going on on the stove. Eagerly intersted I watched him cutting the veggies from our own little garden, cooking the rice and preparing the pan with oil for browning the meat. Yes, correct, my I grew up in a meat-eater family. This fact makes it even more astonishing that I’ve decided at the age of 3 that I wanted to become vegetarian. If I tell this story to people today, they nearly can’t believe it. But it’s the truth.
I was a kid quite a curious kid and I drilled my father with questions. And that is how it came that I asked my father the crucial question. He was about to prepare meat again this evening when I recognized that little cow that was pictured on the package. I clutched that plastic, looked at it with eyes wide open and asked my dad: “Why do they put a cow on this?”. My father hesitated for a while. But then he answered me honestly: “Because we eat them.” And me? I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want to eat cows, I didn’t want to eat animals in general. I asked him wheter we ate other animals as well. He nodded and looked down. Another tear rolled over my little face.
Only a phase?
My parents thought I was actually just going through a phase and that I, of course, would forget about this whole story again. They were quite sure I would eat meat again only after a few days. But I didn’t. I refused every single peace of sausage, salami and mice, even on spaghetti. I never started eating animals again and my parents had no choice: They had to accept it. Luckily they did, especially my father tried hard to cook special meals for me every single day. Lots of veggies and whole grains, sometimes tofu as a meat replacement. And I loved it. I still appreciated it to cook with him too. But whenever I spotted a pot with meat in it I immediately shouted out a loud “Yuck!” to demonstrate how icky it smelled.
I became vegan a lot of years later.To be exact, in July 2016. You probably would have expected that I’ve been vegan for a longer time, didn’t you. But I wasn’t one of the persons who went vegan over night. It was more of a process which durated 2 years. I knew that I wanted to become completely plantbased before but I just couldn’t make it that time. I needed time to inform myself, to get used to it. I really forced myself to do it but at the same time I was afraid that I’d miss something or that my body would miss something. It was important to me to feed my cells with the best nutrients. It sounds so ridiculous when I look back now, but at this certain point in my life I wasn’t sure if I could live completely vegan and still be healthy. But you know, after these two years of reading really every study, book and article I could find, I was convinced. I knew I was ready, that it would all work out. And I could finally take the step and became vegan.
The hardest part for me, was giving up curd. Today I can’t tell you why since I love the vegan curd alternatives even more than the original one, but well… The first thing I could easily gave up was milk. I didn’t really like the taste in its natural way. I struggled with tommy aches after drinking it, so it felt so good to give it up. Surprisingly it wasn’t a big deal to stop eating cheese too. And you must know, as a swiss girl I really fancied this stuff a lot. I ate it nearly every day. But this was more like a routine, not a real addiction. I found it quite hard on the other side to be aware of products containing milk powder. This shit – sorry for the word – is in every single prepacked grocery. Three weeks of holidays in Asia seemed to be the perfect start into a vegan life. This sounds super silly, I know. But I knew it would be no problem to refuse dairy products there, because they hardly exist. And I was absolutely sure that I would never eat dairy and egg products again after this trip. And so it was.
Living with that label
I know, a lot of people don’t like labels. Vegetarian, flexetarian, vegan, paleo or what else there is out there. I can totally relate. After all the most important thing is to consume more sustainable. What carry weight is the decision we take every day in the supermarket and in our own kitchen, sure. But personally I have to admit, that I’ve become quite strict. I don’t make excuses. Not for my birthday, not for a fondue. I decided to become vegan and that’s it. This doesn’t mean that this is the only way, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the way I want to do it. The way it feels right for me. Maybe that’s the difference between people who have become vegan over night and the ones who were struggling a lot before taking this decision. I don’t know.
Maybe I’ve informed myself too good. When I knew that I wanted to become vegan I read every single article about veganism, I binge-watched all the documentaries and I’m not lying. I cried a lot, I felt inwardly disintegrated by that time. But it was okay, I didn’t want to protect myself anymore. Because I knew it before, I knew that it would break me when I’d watch all this stuff. But I had to do it, it was part of the process. I started to feel so guilty ever time I ate a piece of cheese or a spoon of curd. I spent most of my life living as a vegetarien, not knowing, that I actually supported the meat industry too.
I guess that all of the factors I decribed above, were triggers to become vegan. I wanted to start this new journey. And this wasn’t only about eating plantbased. This also concerned my cosmetic, my clothes. Literally everthing.
Being vegan, for me, is more than only quitting dairy and meat products. And anyway: “Giving up” is the wrong expression here. I can say today that I’ve never been eating so multifarious before. I cook fresh every day, I use wholesome vegan groceries in my kitchen. No industrial shit anymore. I feel better today than I’ve ever felt before. I feel comfortable in my own skin.
Constant weight through plantbased food
I don’t want to talk too much about all the positive aspects that I’ve realised in my body after becoming vegan (that’s another blog post, for sure). But let me just mention one thing. My weight is super constant, wheter I eat more or less. It doesn’t really matter since my diet has become quite balanced. It’s not that I wanted to loose weight, not at all. But you probably know it from yourself that you something weigh 3 kg more, something 3 less. I have to say that I’ve struggled a lot with this before I became vegan. Today I know that I don’t have to think about it too much. You can do nothing wrong as long as you lead a fully plantbased wholesome diet, right. I can even eat bigger amounts of food than before. People often wonder how I can manage to eat such big portions. But hey, it’s only veggies, how should I put weight on by eating natural goodies? Don’t be afraid of eating all the carbs too. They don’t hurt you! 😉
No meat-eater is an environmentalist
Another aspect for me is the environment. By leading a plantbased life you support our planet in so many good ways. I didn’t only become vegan because of animal rights and my health. It’s also because we have no planet B. I mean we have to accept that there are people who can live with the dairy and meat industry. Because they don’t have a heart, I don’t know. But it’s true, there are people who could easily kill an animal and eat it right away. But I always say: Even those people can’t tell me that it is okay to eat meat when they look at the impact of the manufacturing process.
Producing meat needs so much more water and Co2 than eating plantbased. I have to quote peta here to show you some facts and figures:
“A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute. According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.”
Accusations are non-sense
Okay. And now a meat eater should come and tell me that he can eat his beef with good conscience. When it comes to the ecological aspect of the meat industry I’m just speechless to hear people who are still defending themselves. But honestly, throughout the years I’ve also learned to accept these people. They are just not ready for it. But hopefully, one day, they will be. I try to be a good example and inspire them to lead a life that is at least a bit more plantbased and conscious. But it only works by doing good. Cook for them, invite them and try to have positive conversations. I had quite good success with this “strategy”. My boyfriend – I’ve been with him for 2,5 years now – stopped eating meat this year. Instead of milk he uses rice drink and even for the protein shake he goes for a vegan alternative (and you know how shitty these taste, right!).
Connect with like-minded people!
I really wanted to structure this blog post and list you step by step how I’ve become vegan. But nope, this topic still makes me feel so emotional so I just wrote whatever came to my mind. Writing these lines, I realise, how important it is to me to spread the message, to raise awareness. I had the chance to get to know so many lovely souls out there, especially through Instagram. These like-minded people give me power every day. It feels so great to talk to someone who feels just they way you do. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to miss one of my old beloved friends which aren’t vegan at all. But at the same time it just feels so right to connect with vegan people too. Don’t hesitate to connect! This would be my most important phrase if I could only give you one tip. Meet up, go for a coffee and talk. Not only about veganism, about all and sundry.
I guess this is the right point to ask you about your opinion. Are you vegan? What do you think about labels? I would love to read your thoughts too. Furthermore I was thinking about doing a blogpost about the 10 reasons to become vegan or 10 positive aspects about leading a vegan life. How does this sound to you? Let me know.
Lots of love, Anina