I’m a vegan woman (or voman in certain accents) living in Berlin and trying to persuade as many people as possible that going vegan is the best thing for our beautiful planet and its quirky inhabitants.
My story doesn’t actually start with me. In 1993 my mum went to see a naturopath who advised her to cut out meat, caffeine and alcohol from her diet, eat mostly raw, and get enough sleep and exercise. She lost weight, her health sky rocketed, and our house was suddenly full of Leslie Kenton books, alfalfa sprouts and compresses.
The early nineties were a far cry from today’s filtered Instagram meals, but my sister and I adapted to odd-sounding meals like Red Dragon Pie quickly, and even though it was fairly exhausting for a 9 year old introvert to have to explain to the school dinner ladies that fish fingers weren’t veggie time and time again, we both managed it without too many setbacks and decided it was time to recruit our younger brother. After some classic sibling bullying he joined us a few months later, leaving my dad as the carnivorous oddity in our household. Saturdays would be spent with us writing activist-themed stories about badger-baiting, or making posters about Bullfighting for our bring-and-buy-sale to raise money for the RSPCA while my dad and the dog went off for a day’s shooting…
Today we are all vegans, having got there at different times. I personally chose to go vegan on the 1st January 2006 after a heavy New Year’s Eve on the cheeseboard. I’d been reading a lot of literature from Viva! and decided veganism was the only way I could align my diet with my morals. Almost immediately I noticed that my eczema subsided, I had more energy and finally a clear conscience.
I was vegan until the end of 2008 when I went travelling for six months around Asia and somehow convinced myself that it wouldn’t be possible to be healthily vegan during that time. I now look back at that decision with sadness, especially when i picture myself crying into my yoghurt 36,000 feet above the world, somewhere over Kazakstan, asking the cows to forgive me.
Still, seven years and lots of guilt later, I went vegan again in 2015 having watched this speech by Gary Yourofsky. My family has also since followed, and we now spend a lot of time Whatsapping each other pictures of our latest culinary adventures, supermarket finds, and decent ersatz cheese.
The vegan scene has changed immeasurably in nine years, and with the exception of a trip to France last year, I can honestly say I never have to worry about what or where to eat. Living in Berlin makes that even easier of course, and i feel truly spoiled with vegan pizzerias, doughnut shops, supermarkets, burger spots, cafes, raw restaurants all within easy (dangerously easy) reach. Even the ubiquitous and cheap falafel which exists in various forms of perfection across the city and is snaffled round the clock by its inhabitants, is vegan.
People’s attitudes have also changed a lot in that time. In 2006 when I told people I was vegan, they would ask what that meant exactly; today people are more likely to tell me of their friends who have also chosen that lifestyle, and how they’re also considering moving in that direction. And this shift I can only smile at and embrace.
So that, dear reader, is me. This is my little space in the ether to espouse this awesome way of life through recipes, pictures and reviews. Please contact me if you’re interested in veganism but not sure where to start; you can recommend an amazing vegan restaurant in your area; you have an amusing anecdote to share; or simply fancied saying ‘Hiya!’.