In the course of finding topics for this issue, a stormy discussion about nutrition flared up in our editorial team. In the context of sustainability and climate protection, nutrition is an important and effective aspect. Anja interjected: vegan nutrition would reduce animal suffering and promote human health. She posed the provocative question, “But who dares to eat vegan for four weeks?” At first Max agreed, but then had to go to kindergarten (for work reasons, of course).
The search for a guinea pig continued. By reading the book: “Anständig essen” by Karen Duve, I came again in advance with the topic in contact. So, I declared myself ready. Yes, I wanted to nourish myself four weeks vegan.
Anja, an experienced vegan woman , stood me with advice and act to the side and worked out practicable plans for the coming weeks.
First week – Vegan for beginners
Well, had I leaned too far out of the window? Now I was in the word and the first week was certainly a challenge. I went off with my overview of vegan sausages and cheeses and looked for different shopping sources (supermarkets, the Veganski, organic markets). I found the products relatively easily, but I had to allow more time when shopping at the supermarket. The focus of the first week was on errands for convenience foods. I found most of them to taste ok except the spinach/walnut spread, which I had imagined to be different. After the first week I could say I didn’t miss anything. My digestion improved, I drank more tea and water, and in general my appetite for fruits and vegetables increased. The questions that arose in advance: Can you get full with this? Do these products taste good? I could answer these questions without objections with yes.
Second week – Vegan for advanced
Can you make delicious low-cost vegan spreads/mueslis easily yourself? Anja did not spare with recipes. Hummus, porridge deluxe with spices like cinnamon and cardamon, nuts, seeds and seeds, avocado dip and paprika cashew spread. Here I encountered intense flavours, in any case tastier than ready-made products. Especially since all ingredients were freshly processed and fresh lemon as well as lime juice were used instead of vinegar. The basic kitchen equipment includes a powerful blender, a spice grinder and a food processor. Here, everyone has different priorities. By using a food processor, I do not need a blender.
It was planned in the first two weeks that only the spread, and/or then breakfast and dinner should be arranged vegan. The summery temperatures were owed that I renounced meat and fish from the outset. With blatant nourishing change I recommend generally to exchange oneself with the family doctor or other trusted specialists .
Third week – Vegan for experienced
Now it became even more challenging. There were cooking recipes that were easy to prepare. Did lunch taste good without minced meatballs, fish and poultry? Meat was replaced by soy products in different variations or by vegetables and grains. After the week, I was asked how I was doing with it. My answer: Very well! After I had acquired a basic supply of food, I no longer had to go shopping all the time. I also noticed positive things: Regular purchases of fresh fish and fresh meat are a thing of the past. I particularly enjoy experimenting with herbs and spices. I discover real flavour explosions!
Also, Anja asked me how I like vegan substitutes (vegan fish sticks, schnitzel…). I realized in the third week: I don’t need imitations of fish and meat. But for my non-vegan circle of friends, these substitute products are good first touch points. One weekend, I had a friend over and we were going to eat nuggets with fries, like we used to. I got vegan nuggets. My friend was totally thrilled. “I’ll buy those now, too!” was her conclusion. Vegan/vegetarian pizzas are also often well received by acquaintances and friends.
Fourth week – Vegan for experts
The last week of my experiment followed. Could I be convinced? You can celebrate vegan parties, delicious vegan brunch and invite dear people to a vegan dinner. I received more sophisticated recipes, e.g., for a festive dinner, 3-course menu, cake, pie, sponge cake and many other delicious things. After this week, Anja asked me again for the (last) interview:
Anja: “How do you feel after one month “vegan”?
Me: “Good. I have a better general condition. The skin looks better, and it feels really good.”
Anja: “What do you like about the vegan diet?”
Me: “I liked trying new spices and being more creative as a result. My time in the kitchen has increased. I like that as I know what’s in my food.”
Anja: “Do you miss meat?”
Me: “No, completely contrary to my initial idea, I don’t miss meat at all! I can also live well without fish. Meanwhile, some of the smells of formerly living animals are unpleasant to me.”
Anja: “Are you vegan now?”
Me: “For now yes, but I miss the milk for my coffee. The only viable alternative I would take is barista oat milk, you can even foam it up. Other than that, it just bugs me that you can’t get everything in one place, and I must go to a lot of different stores. Additionally, some products are overpriced in my opinion.”
Anja: “Is there anything else you’d like to comment on?”
Me: “Yes, absolutely. Through this project, I’ve become more mindful about nutrition, reading through the ingredient list, paying attention to less salt and avoiding additives as much as possible.
And today, a year after the experiment? Enough self-delusion! Yes, I still don’t eat fish or meat. But without dairy products – especially cheese! – it does not go. On one hand, because vegan cheese is really expensive while on the other hand, it does not convince me in terms of taste! Another confession, I prefer to drink coffee with cow’s milk. So nowadays I am a convinced vegetarian.
Important at the end: Whoever goes the vegan way, doctors and biologists strongly recommend vitamin B12 gifts and regular blood tests (at least 1x a year).