How moving to Berlin inspired me to go vegan
The Local · 11 Aug 2016, 11:13
Published: 11 Aug 2016 11:13 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Aug 2016 11:13 GMT+02:00
- School kids don’t have right to vegan food: Berlin court (18 May 16)
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When I first moved to Germany I was a different person. Straight out of college, I had a lot to learn about life and myself. Living in Berlin was eye-opening in many ways.
Food was always a big aspect of my life, but not always the best. Since a young age, I had a complicated relationship with food. Going from eating too much to eating nothing at all, I was always out of balance.
This changed once I moved to Berlin. Instead of looking to food as the enemy, I discovered how it can help you heal.
Cooking and discovering healthy recipes became my new passion. I’d rush to the supermarket after work to prepare dinner. Kürbis (pumpkin), Brot (bread), and Mandel (almond) were actually the first German words that I learned. At that time, I was about 90 percent vegetarian, but something was still missing.
That’s when I went to the Veganes Sommerfest, a festival which takes over Alexanderplatz in Berlin every year in August. It's the perfect event for you to get a feeling for the movement - there’s a bit of everything there.
From the different vendors showing off their products, to the various animal rights organizations, the festival, which runs from August 19th to 21st this year, has it all.
Known personalities will be there for a variety of workshops and debates for vegans and non-vegans alike. And, of course, it is a showcase of some of the most amazing vegan food we have from all over Germany.
I still remember how welcomed and connected I felt my first time there. It was one of these aha! moments when it all finally makes sense to you.
I went vegan almost overnight - after watching a documentary promoted at the festival, I felt as if I had no other option. If I wanted to be true to my values, I had to be vegan. For me, it’s an ethical choice first and foremost.
After I had the information, I simply could not stand the fact that I was complicit in the killing of dozens of animals for pure pleasure. In a world with an abundance of food and nutritional sources, this was an easy decision to make. As vegans we believe animals owe nothing to humans, neither food, clothing, nor entertainment. To us, it’s just not right.
This month marks my third year as a vegan and almost my fourth living in Germany. And today I’m a different person because of these choices.
Berlin is considered the vegan capital of Europe for a reason. Its vast variety of vegan restaurants and cafés perfectly marries the many Berliners bringing the movement to a whole different level of vegan living.
We have cooperatives such as La Stella Nera in Neukölln, which will make you forget you're not in Italy - or that you ever thought vegan cheese couldn’t replace the real thing.
Kontor Eismanufaktur, which has shops in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, has the best ice cream I’ve ever tried, and even has spaghetti ice cream.
Finally, Fast Rabbit, a fast food joint also in Prenzlauer Berg, is the best example that you don’t need fancy ingredients to make food taste delicious.
Once you start looking, you’ll see it everywhere, from Meetups to animal rights conferences. They care about animal welfare and about the planet.
And so I fell in love with the city and myself again. Today I not only feel better than ever, but I’m also writing my own cookbook. And honestly, I couldn’t have done it without this incredible city.
Inês David is a food writer from Portugal who lives in Berlin. You can follow her journey through Berlin's vegan scene on Instagram.