Vegan Germany

I just came back from a great trip to Germany. Visiting family was part of the reason for my visit, but going to Berlin and checking out Vegan Street was a big reason too. I visited a few cities and was impressed with all of them.

Stuttgart

Before I arrived in Stuttgart my mom and some of our family got to check out a vegan restaurant on my list: Körle und Adam. They loved the food, and the cosy atmosphere of the restaurant. Their website is in German, but even if you can’t read the words, you’ll drool over the food and cheer on the rescued animals in the photos from Hof Butenland and Erdlingshof—local animal sanctuaries.

korle u adam

I had a family dinner at another vegan restaurant, Coox & Candy. Their vegan version of the traditional spätzle dish was phenomenal. All my relatives were happy with how delicious and filling their vegan meals were, and a few even took animal rights pamphlets that were available on the way out.

coox u candy

München

I was excited to visit München (also known as Munich). First stop Max Pett, an organic vegan restaurant that my aunt discovered while searching online for vegan restaurants. We ate outside on the patio and enjoyed delicious fare, including veganized versions of typical Bavarian desserts.

max pett

The next day we visited Veganista, a vegan boutique. Owner Rahel welcomed us to her adorable little shop and I ended up buying an armful of clothing, including vegan suede booties by Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather and tops and a dress by German vegan eco brand Armed Angels.

veganizta

After shopping, my mom, aunt and cousin ate at Café Katzentempel, a vegan cat café! In the café, we met the six resident rescued cats, and filled our bellies with cruelty-free food.

katzentempel

Berlin

Berlin is a vegan mecca. There are countless vegan restaurants and over 300 omni places have clearly marked vegan items on their menus. Organic markets are everywhere and they all have amazing vegan items—from salad dressing to plant-based liverwurst.

vegan food

We arrived just in time for a monthly vegan social, Berlin Vegan Drinks. We were welcomed to the event and got to chat with the organizers as well as several attendees. The vegan BBQ hit the spot.

meal at vegan drinks

Fast Rabbit was a few blocks away from our AirBnb, guaranteeing that I could start each morning with a soy latté and vegan baked goodie.

fast rabbit

My mom and I splurged on a fancy Saturday evening dinner at Lucky Leek. We had a three-course prix fix meal and reveled in the ambience. We compensated the next night by walking to the simple, yet delicious Vego Foodworld, where we had an inexpensive dinner or salad and vegan schnitzel.

lucky leek

Vego

Vegan Street, or Schivelbeinerstrasse on the map, is a vegan’s delight. With Veganz grocery on the corner, complete with a Goodies bakery inside, and DearGoods vegan clothing and Avesu vegan shoes all side-by-side, we were in vegan heaven. We bought vegan hazelnut spread at Veganz (eat your heart out, Nutella), and ate bagels with faux egg salad out on the picnic tables in front of the store. I found a cute pair of vegan shoes next door, and bought a couple of fair-trade, organic tops from Armed Angels and Wunderkwerk.

bagel

On our way to another vegan eco boutique, Loveco, an animal rights parade marched down the street! I took a flier advertising the documentary Earthlings, and learned about the upcoming Vegan Fest (which sadly I had to miss).

parade

We did make it to Kontor Eis before it was time to head home. Kontor is an all-vegan ice cream shop with a terrific assortment of vegan ice cream and sorbets—and a great vegan message!

kontor

If you plan a trip to Germany, you shouldn’t have trouble finding vegan food. People know the word “vegan,” and in Berlin, almost everyone speaks English. Happy Cow will help you find vegan food, and Bio Markets (bio meaning organic) have a ton of vegan options.

In Drogeries (drugstores) like DM, cosmetics and beauty products are clearly labeled and often have a V or the logo of The Vegan Society on them. Plus, in 2009, EU nations banned testing cosmetic on animals. In 2013 they stopped importing products developed with the use of testing on animals. Still, the vegan symbol will ensure the products you buy don’t have animal ingredients.

go vegan

This was a whirlwind overview of my trip so I’ll be diving in deeper to share with you all the details of food, cats and vegan shoes in upcoming posts.

Ruby Roth: Vegan children’s book author

Ruby Roth is an acclaimed author who has written and illustrated several amazing children’s books about animals and veganism. I’ve given her books as gifts because the images captivate and the messages are perfectly age-appropriate. They’re a great launching point for discussing animal issues with kids.

V is for Vegan is great introduction to veganism for the younger set (3-7), and That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals is a more in-depth look at veganism for older kids (6-9). Vegan is Love is a terrific look at human-animal relationships and how you’re never too young to put compassion into action (7-10). Learn more about her work at wedonteatanimals.com.

ruby roth

A few months ago I had opportunity to attend a lecture by Roth, where she explored the transformative power of veganism on society and the individual (children included!). She examined pop culture, the media response to her books, and talked about challenges of being vegan and raising vegan kids.

The lecture was very eye-opening! I’ve been a vegan for over 15 years and thought I’d seen it all—but Roth wowed me with info I didn’t know, such as how public thinking about health, children, and animals is shaped.

The toughest part of being vegan is often the pressure people face from well-meaning friends, family, and medical professionals. Just as her books do, Roth encouraged parents to involve their children in conversations about healthy eating and animal rights. Children are smarter than we give them credit for and will appreciate veganism when they understand it well.

To see Ruby Roth take on the media, check out the videos below.

They’re great examples of the fear-mongering among mainstream media and the normalization of eating animals and exploiting them in many other ways. Fortunately Ruby Roth has given us great tools to help children to “love deeply, think critically, and act responsibly.”

Lions and cows and dogs, oh my!

Cecil the Lion, as he was known, was a lion who lived in Zimbabwe. You’ve probably seen the media storm and public outrage this week about his murder. A wealthy American paid to hunt down Cecil—at night, by luring him out of a preserve—and shoot him with a crossbow.

a lion similar to Cecil

It was nothing but a cowardly act by a small-minded trophy hunter, hell-bent on proving his sense of worth by killing others. The man—a dentist from Minnesota—as a complete sociopath and waste of space. But I digress.

What I learned from the frenzy this week is that it pays to have a name. Cecil was a lion who’d been photographed by tourists for years (he was 12 or 13). He was GPS-collared and was part of an Oxford University study. But he was no different from many other lions that wealthy westerners (usually Americans) pay to kill. Six hundred lions are killed in trophy hunts every year, according to National Geographic.

Cecil sparked public outcry because he was well-known. In the same way we mourn for a celebrity’s death, but not the random people who also die.

For most people, the lion is a majestic creature. King of the jungle. We don’t associate them with food or clothing. That’s another thing Cecil had going for him. People around the world have issued hate mail and death threats to Cecil’s killer, and vigils and protests have sprung up at the man’s business.

Most of the people disgusted with Cecil’s death likely also eat and wear other animals. It’s a disconnect. Melanie Joy addresses this topic in-depth in her book, Why we Love Dogs, Eat pigs, and Wear Cows. This phenomenon (of loving some animals and eating others) she calls carnism. I encourage you to read the book and see how people compartmentalize and justify this discrepancy.

It’s okay to mourn for Cecil. His death was a tragedy. His pride is in jeopardy, and his cubs will likely be killed by competing lions. But we need to also mourn for the millions of dogs and cats who are euthanized each year because they have no homes. And for the billions of farmed animals whose lives are brutal and short. They are all as precious as Cecil and as deserving of life.

We can’t stop evil people from hunting (although signing the petition to ask Zimbabwe to stop issuing hunting permits or the petition to include lions on the endangered species list would help). But we can adopt dogs and cats and never buy from breeders. And we can choose to not eat animals.

If you’re not already, please choose veg. For the countless animals just like Cecil, who are worthy of our admiration and who want to live.

Doctor’s orders?

“Let food be thy medicine.”

“You are what you eat.”

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

apple

We’ve heard these sayings before, but step into a doctor’s office and you’ll likely not be guided toward eating well. Doctors are great at things like diagnosing disease, performing surgery, and prescribing drugs. But I’ve learned that very few are trained in nutrition.

A vegetarian friend of mine who was low on iron started eating meat again—on her doctor’s orders! I told her cashews, kidney beans, quinoa, spinach and tempeh are all great sources of iron. Her doctor never told her that—or even recommended a supplement.

The doctor I saw last week for my checkup was just as bad. When he found out I’m vegan, he told me “it’s the riskiest diet.” He then recommended goat’s milk, since I can’t drink cow’s milk. I had to tell him goats are animals and their secretions aren’t vegan!

He told me to be careful because there are certain amino acids that are found only in meat. I said, “you mean protein?” He nodded. I asked him how cows and other herbivores get their protein. He referred me to a nutritionist.

The truth is, plants have protein. Plant proteins are referred to as “incomplete” only because they don’t match our human amino acid profile. But they are not “incomplete” when it comes to fulfilling our dietary needs.

Not all medical schools require training in nutrition, and the ones that do, require only a few hours. I’ve completed the Plant-based Nutrition Certificate program through eCornell, and while that doesn’t make me an expert, it has given me more nutrition training than most doctors have.

I worry for people who trust doctors blindly. For people considering veganism, a doctor’s warning like the one I heard might convince them not to try it. A whole-food, plant-based diet is a healthy choice—and most doctors aren’t aware.

There was a time when doctors recommended cigarettes as a way to relieve nerves. What doctors say about nutrition likely isn’t gospel. I’m on a quest to find a vegan—or nutritionally-aware—doctor.

Until then, here are a few good resources:

Dr. John McDougall
Dr. Michael Greger
Ginny Messina
Plant-Based Dietitian
PCRM

Vegan Philadelphia

I got to spend the 4th of July weekend in the City of Brotherly Love. My friend Donna and I enjoyed all the city had to offer: shopping, art, American history, and of course, food.

Philly is a great city to be vegan. We tried a few different vegan restaurants and found vegan options at omni restaurants. People knew what vegan was and were happy to accommodate me. Here’s the rundown:

Blackbird Pizzeria is a small, all-vegan casual dining environment. Order at the counter and your food will be brought to the table. I didn’t have a chance to try their pizza because I had a vegan Philly cheesesteak and the hottest seitan wings I’ve ever had. This meal was delicious! The cheesesteak was seitan-based too, making this a gluten-licious meal. The wings had a cool dipping sauce that redeemed me after every scorching bite.

blackbird pizzeria

Vedge is the opposite of Blackbird. A vegan fine dining experience, reservations recommended. The plates were small and artistic, making it perfect to try a starter, hot course, and side. I didn’t have a lot of room for dessert, but I ordered one anyway. We had soup, salad, golden beets, grilled tofu, Brussels sprouts, and cheesecake. Their cocktails are beautiful and refreshing.

vedge

Charlie was a Sinner is a dimly-lit fancy vegan bar. Small plates are great to nibble on while enjoying a cocktail. The kitchen is open late. I wasn’t too hungry at midnight, but I tried the crab cakes anyway.

crab cakes

At El Vez, the waiter helped me pick out tacos that I could veganize. It’s worth a stop at this restaurant for their house-made guac alone. The frozen cocktails are an added bonus.

tacos

The menu at Fuel proudly states that all salads and entrees can be made vegan, so that’s what I did. I had a healthy sandwich with tofu and tons of veggies. It was flavorful and healthy.

sandwich

While exploring the city, we grabbed quick meals here and there. It seemed like every place had at least a veggie burger—even the burger stand in Franklin Park!

veggie burger

The avocado toast with gazpacho and salad that we ate on the patio of a cute sandwich shop was a nice treat on a hot day.

toast and soup

We didn’t get a chance to try Hip City Veg or V Street, so I have at least two more reasons to go back to Philly.

Also, those wings!

The Awareness

The Awareness, a novel by Gene Stone and Jon Doyle, is an exciting tale that follows four animals—a traveling circus elephant, a pet dog in New York, a pig in a factory farm, and a bear in the forest—as they each become “aware.”awarenessOn one specific day, all the mammals of the world gain a level of consciousness they’ve never had before. They are aware of human-animal relationships, they talk, they plot, and they begin a war against humans.

Each of the storylines in the book follow animals with unique and different relationships to humans: pet, slave, food, wildlife. Readers get a wonderful glimpse into the thoughts and conflicts the animals face as they talk through their dilemmas.

The animals talk to each other and to humans. The events and actions were the stuff of fantasy, but this story was so believable. I’ve always talked to animals, and I love stories involving talking animals, so suspending my disbelieve came easily.

The animals’ own stories are complex and gripping and I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a great book that gets one thinking about the lives of animals, their emotions, and our relationship to them. But it’s also a great story that will keep you reading to see what’s next.

Vegan profile #8: Jonathan Rosenberry

Name: Jonathan Rosenberry
Age: 27
Occupation: Freelance videographer

How long have you been vegan? I’ve been vegan for 1 year and 1 month.

Jonathan's 50-mile run

Jon, finishing his first ultra marathon (50-mile run)

Why did you choose to be vegan?
I chose to be vegan when I learned that it was the best thing to do for my health, the animals and this planet. I just see it as a win-win-win situation. I’m nervous about what will happen to our planet in 20 years if the majority of society does not adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet. Therefore, I want to spread the message by leading as an example.

Biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge for me was facing belief differences with my family and friends and in social gatherings. But once I overcame that fear, I realized I could embrace those moments of discomfort to spread awareness to others. Someone always asks, “so why don’t you eat meat?” And I can’t wait for that question because it’s such a good conversation starter and a great way to casually inform others about the issues of factory farming and what challenges our planet faces in years to come. My second favorite question is “so where do you get your protein from?” I get so much joy from this question and love educating people about the nutritional value of a vegan diet.

Best reward:
The biggest reward is to see those around me become influenced by my diet and beliefs. For example, after educating my dad more about the health benefits of veganism and having him watch Forks Over Knives, I got a text from him saying he had just thrown away all the dairy in the fridge and was going to try being vegan. He used to eat chicken, fish and dairy products, so to hear him say that made me so happy. And he’s been mostly vegan for several months now. Even just hearing from an omnivorous family or friend that they ate a vegan meal or made a vegan dinner is really exciting to me.

Are you involved in AR, vegan outreach, etc.?
I’ve been a little hesitant to go full force into animal rights participation and vegan outreach because I was nervous about being confrontational, but I have taken baby steps into activism and leafleting and I do it in my own style and it feels really good be a part of it. Now I volunteer about once a week and have been on a leafleting tour through Vancouver, Canada with The Humane League.

Advice for new vegans:
There is so much advice I would like to share with new vegans or those thinking about becoming vegan. I jumped from being a pescetarian to being a vegan overnight which worked for me, but it may not be for everyone. I have found that if I give myself a rule or deadline to do something then I will actually do it. I made a rule that on my birthday, I would become vegan for one year, then after that one year I could change back if I felt it wasn’t right for me. But once I made the jump I never looked back, and now over one year later, I plan on staying vegan for the rest of my life. I like to think that not everyone needs to be a militant vegan if they’re afraid about the switch, just do what you can and do what you feel is right. I highly recommend getting a Vitamix or a decent blender, because making smoothies is so fun, easy and delicious! Just make sure to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in your diet.

Parting words:
Being vegan has been the best and most life changing decision I’ve ever made. It has positively affected my relationships, athletic abilities, achievements, and now I have a better outlook on life.

Keep up with Jonathan and check out his:

facebook page
instagram
cinematography portfolio

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To contribute to this feature, check out the profile intro page and drop me a line.