Vegan Advice #5 (Xmas edition)

I got more questions asked, that I would like to answer here. This way everybody can read it in case more people have these questions about veganism. I answer everything from my own perspective. I’m sure there are people with a different opinion though. The last time I wrote a Vegan Advice I answered the following questions: ‘Why are you not going to the zoo?’, ‘Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?’ and ‘Do you take any supplements?’. As it’s almost Xmas, I thought of doing a Xmas edition of the Vegan Advice article. They aren’t per se Xmas related though, but recently I get these sort of questions a lot and I’m sure more vegans get these too: ‘Would you buy non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you accept non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?’. Here we go..

Would you buy non vegan things as a present?
No! Very simple and straight forward. I used to do it in the very beginning, but very soon I realised that it doesn’t make sense to spend my money on non vegan things. There are actually 3 reasons. First of all, I do not want a non vegan brand to get my support through buying it. Second, my biggest wish is for the whole world to go vegan. Giving other people non vegan things doesn’t only make them doubt about how serious veganism is for me and in general, but it also tells them it’s kind of ok that they still want products that involve cruelty and/or environmental damage. Third..I really like to show them that vegan things aren’t that weird, disgusting or hard to find. Giving vegan gifts is a nice way to show people how nice and positive veganism is.

Would you accept non vegan things as a present?
No! This is sometimes really hard and I understand that you might think ‘it doesn’t matter anymore now, because it has already been purchased’. But as I said at the first question as well, about other people thinking it’s kind of ok, this is the same for accepting non vegan gifts. People won’t take my decision to live a vegan lifestyle serious, but even worse is that if I would tell them it’s ok, they might do it again. If it’s about food, then it can also make me ill as I haven’t been consuming non vegan foods and drinks for years now. I think it also comes down to principles. It’s my principal that I do not want to be involved with non vegan things. It’s hard sometimes, because there are occasions people tried hard to get me something and then I have to disappoint them. But what helps me is thinking in this way: what if I had an allergy? I couldn’t accept it then, so why would I accept it if my reason is to consciously make the world a better place?

Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?
This is quite a hot topic. I know that a lot of people are struggling with this. A lot of people are the only vegan in their family and this makes it really hard, because you want to enjoy the Xmas dinner with your family, but then you have to sit at the table whilst there are people eating and complimenting the dead animals on the table. Personally I can’t do this. Luckily almost my whole family is vegan or vegetarian and we are having 100% vegan Xmas dinners for the last couple of years. I feel very lucky. If this wasn’t the case then I would not attend the Xmas dinner. I know that is quite radical, but I just can’t do it. I rather miss out (even though I love Xmas so much!), than to feel incredibly sad and have the feeling I want to cry the whole time. It would feel like torture to me. So how do you deal with this if you aren’t as lucky as I am? If you can’t bare it, then I suggest looking for like minded people (I’m sure they can’t be that hard to find) and organise a Xmas pot luck. I hope everybody will have a good Xmas though!

Do you agree with me or do you see it in a different way? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X


Vegan Advice #3

It has been a while since I posted a Vegan Advice article. Lately I have been asked a few questions again and I thought it might be helpful to write about it. For more understanding. I write from my own point of view and so my answers are coming from the way I look at things. The last time I posted a Vegan Advice, it was about ‘Where do I get my protein from?’, ‘Can I eat the eggs from my own chickens?’ and ‘Do cows have to be milked?’. This time I’d like to talk about ‘Why is horse riding wrong?’, ‘Do you respect that some people are not vegan?’ and ‘Why is honey not vegan?’. If you get these questions too, just send the link to the people who do. It’ll save you a lot of repeating!

Why is horse riding wrong?
When I was a child, I was definitely part of the crazy-about-horses-club. I was really crazy about horses. Collected everything what was horse related and I took riding lessons too. Since my first lesson when I was around 10/11, I ride horses for years. I still love horses a lot. I think they’re incredible animals. But the love I feel has sightly changed since I became vegan. I don’t only love them, I respect them too. Respect means that you let them live their life and look after them in a way they are most happy. Though, riding horses means you need to train them. In a lot of cases it means you have to train them to be wearing a saddle and a bridle, with a metal bit in their delicate mouth. It’s forcing them to get used to something unnatural. And for what? For people’s pleasure. Without thinking it through, I can actually say that it’s lovely to ride horses. The idea of being on top of such a majestic animal, going fast, the wind in your hair, it feel amazing.. But now, realising what we’re actually doing to them it’s not that enjoyable for me anymore. It’s weird I didn’t think of this before. It’s cuz we grow up with it being ‘normal’. Now what is the real reason for riding a horse? Because if you really really love horses, you wouldn’t do this to them. You would just take care of them and love them. I think it’s the feeling of controlling an animal like a horse. Making it do things you want it to do. Making it walk and run with weird unnatural movements, just because you can. Making it jump whilst you’re on it (or not on it). You are in control. What is naturally a nice feeling. Because not being in control you can feel lost. What makes it logic that being in control makes you feel good. Simple. I think admitting this to yourself is hard if it comes to horse riding. Because you want to justify the riding. What I understand as a former horse rider. I do not actually have something against sitting on a horse’s back and then make it walk or anything. But it has to be with nothing but your body (no saddles, no bridals, nothing..) and mutual respect. If you create a bond and the horse lets you sit on him/her, because it trusts you, I think it’s a beautiful thing. I think if you start training it to do things it actually doesn’t want to and/or to win prices, you’re loving the horse for the wrong reasons. Just because a horse is capable of doing things, doesn’t mean it should. I say this out of my own experiences. I dare to admit that I loved horse riding because of the feeling it gave me. It was selfish of me. I wasn’t always thinking about the horse itself. Though I love horses and I always have (and I always will), I just wasn’t thinking about the horse’s feelings.

Do you respect that some people are not vegan?
A lot of times omnivores (mostly the ones who are close to me) have told me that I should respect their eating choices. ‘I respect you’re vegan, so I expect you to respect me eating meat or drinking a glass of milk’. For me it’s very simple: I don’t. This doesn’t mean I don’t respect the person itself. I can have respect for a lot of other good things this person does. I simply do not respect what some people choose to eat. Because their choice has victims. This is why I can’t respect it. People are often rather flabbergasted that I can’t respect this. ‘It’s my own choice of what to eat and what not to eat’. True. And omnivores are choosing to involve cruelty on their plate. It’s a choice I can not respect. Because the cow or the pig on their plate did not have a choice. Does this mean that I can’t be close to people who eat meat? No it doesn’t. I do find it very hard though, I have to admit that. I’d be lying if I said I don’t. I find it especially hard when I truly love those people. Seeing or knowing that the people I love so deeply eat or use innocent animals, is something what literally makes my chest hurt. Them then asking to respect that, is beyond hurt. It makes me very sad.

Why is honey not vegan?
‘You also don’t eat honey?’ How many vegans had this questions before? I figure a lot are raising their hands now. Because a bee is just an insect. Doesn’t it go a little far? A lot of people think it’s extreme to also not use honey. I have to admit that honey is also the last thing for me to give up. Not that I was a big consumer, but it’s used as an ingredient quite a lot. I just wasn’t aware of why it wasn’t exactly vegan, until I did a little research. So then why is honey not vegan? First of all, very simple, because it comes from an animal. I didn’t realise at first, but taking honey isn’t only cruel, it’s also very stupid. Without bees we will die. How? Bees are the reason we can grow food. They are responsible for pollination, what fertilises the plants, so it will grow new plants. Without pollination nothing will grow. With 7 billion people and a lottttttt more animals on this planet, it’s quite necessary to grow food. There are a lot of mouths to feed. This for me is the very clear and super important reason not to use honey. Taking the honey from the bees can be very stressful for bees. Bees are very intelligent insects and are getting stressed very quickly. Also, bees don’t make honey so people can enjoy it. Bees make honey for themselves. Though, instead of having it for themselves, humans came up with the idea to give them sugar water. They are mostly allowed to keep some of the honey, just enough for them not to die. This to me sounds totally unfair. Honey is for bees, not for humans. This is all apart from that there are actual bee farms, what involves a lot of cruelty and death. Honey is very easy to replace. Use any syrup: agave, date, rice, golden.. Because I think instead of taking honey from bees, we should respect and honour them. They are the reason you’re able to have a yummy salad for lunch!

Did you already know the answers to these questions or did you learn something? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Vegan Advice #1

qaWhen I was about to go vegan I had a lot of questions. Like ‘Can I still eat something nice in a restaurant?‘ Or.. ‘How would my environment react?‘ Or.. ‘Can I do it?’. Now that I’m a vegan for almost 3 years, I can see other people who are thinking about going vegan, having the same questions. That’s why I’d like to answer them. From now on, once in a while, I will answer some questions. If you have any questions, you can always ask me. Just send me a message by email or comment below, whatever makes you feel most comfortable. I will then asap answer them in a post or when it’s urgent, I will answer you personally. Hopefully it will help you to become vegan or maybe it’ll encourage you to stay vegan.

12887559_1113547965355972_988058013_oCan I still eat something nice in a restaurant?
I love eating out. I mean, who doesn’t? You sit down and they bring you a delicious plate of food. At the time I was transitioning I went to Wagamama and Wasabi a lot. I was worried I wasn’t able to go anymore, because how would I know if it’s vegan?! You don’t know all the ingredients they use and would it be silly to ask? Would they even understand what being vegan is about? All these (and a lot more) questions I had. What I did is just go. I sat down and asked if they had anything vegan. At Wagamama it turned out they had a map with al the ingredients of all the dishes they served and they could tell me exactly what was vegan. I normally had a dish with sweet potato, but it turned out not be vegan. So I chose something else and that was the best I’ve ever done. I chose number 38, Yasai Itame. It is the most incredible dish ever! I like it 10 times better than the dish I normally ordered. So since that day I always order that. Only one time I tri13288471_1155880767789358_1893192890_oed something else (I thought I was maybe missing out on other dishes) and it was tasty, though it wasn’t nearly as good as my beloved number 38. Even the people I recommend it to, are still eating it whenever visiting Wagamama.
And in Wasabi it turned out I was eating vegan anyway. All the other restaurants I went had some things on the menu which they could turn vegan and when I ordered a pizza I just ordered it without cheese. There were only a few restaurants with nothing I could eat, but whenever I asked if they could just make me a big plant-based salad, it wasn’t a problem at all. It’s even quite fun, because sometimes you really get the most amazing salads. Eating out turned out to be fun when you’re vegan. Nowadays it’s even easier to get vegan dishes, because times are changing (yay!) and a lot of restaurants offer vegan dishes already or tell you what dishes could be made vegan. Brilliant!

horseHow would my environment react?
This question really was the last thing I struggled with. What would people say and think if I’m ‘always’ the one who’s saying ‘no’ to the food they offer? And I would feel very bad if somebody made something home-made and I have to say ‘no’. What if I’m invited to stay for dinner and I’m always the difficult one? I really didn’t want to be this person. But then I thought ‘what if I was allergic? What if I couldn’t eat it because it made me ill or I could die?’. People are very understanding if it turns out you’re lactose intolerant, get huge cramps after eating gluten or when you could die from eating a peanut. Only when you make a conscious decision not to eat animals, not to support animal cruelty in any way, people make it a problem. Isn’t that weird?! When you actually want to do good and make a difference, you get negative reactions?! When you’re forced not to eat or drink something people are ok with it. As soon as I realised this I did it. I went IMG_7141vegan. I realised, more than ever that I’m the only one who decides what goes into my body and what doesn’t. Nobody has something to say about that. I’ve always been somebody who has clear values and who stands for them and the more I read and learned about veganism, the more I wanted to live a cruelty free life. Who is going to say I should support cruelty? Unfortunately, weird enough, a lot of people do. In the beginning even a few people very close to me were not supporting me, but now I’m vegan for a while a lot of the people who were not supporting me then, are now vegetarian or even vegan themselves! I stood up for what I believed in and it feels amazing. Nowadays when somebody offers me a (non vegan) home made cake I say: ‘It looks very delicious, but I’m vegan so no thank you’. Most people react well. Luckily, because I hate to turn people down. Of course, sometimes, there are people who will tell you that you’re missing out, that you overreact or all the other excuses and reasons you hear from omnivores. Always remember that them saying that is their lack of information and/or compassion. It’s not you who is being weird. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan for the animals, for the environment, just for your health or for whatever reason. Whenever people are trying to discourage you, think about the things you stand for. The fact that people are trying to talk you into eating something bad for your health or supporting cruelty says enough. Be proud to be vegan!

bagelCan I do it?
As a child I always wanted to be a vegetarian and I couldn’t do it. At that time I didn’t know how bad the animal industries were and even when I got a little older I told myself it can’t be that bad. I closed my eyes for it, because meat tasted so good. Then one day I became a vegetarian and eventually I turned vegan (if you want to read about my journey, you can read it by clicking here). Especially before I turned vegan I asked myself ‘Can I do it?’. When I do something, I want to do it good. I don’t like to do half a job. I’m an ‘everything or nothing’ kind of person. If I would have just told myself, without doing any kind of research ‘from Monday I’ll be vegan’, I’d probably wouldn’t have been successful. Becoming vegan is a process. There are not a lot of people (I even think there are non) who turned vegan overnight, knew everything from the start and always did everything right. You have to educate yourself. First you learn about what eating a plant-based diet means for the animals, your health, the environment and your quality of life. me1Then you start to learn about food. You start reading the ingredient lists on the packages from every single thing you eat. I personally really liked that as I learned so much of the things I put in my body. As soon as you get the hang of it it’s actually very easy, because you soon enough know what you’re looking for and what things mean. Then you start to look at the things you wear (wool, silk, leather) , the things you use on your body (cosmetics and other toiletry stuff), the things you clean your house with and also about using animals for pleasure (zoo, circus, horse riding). It’ll maybe come to you all within a week or maybe it will take months or even years. It’s a process and always remember: it’s your process! Nobody can tell you that you’re a bad vegan. The only thing you need to do is keep educating yourself. Keep improving yourself and things will come to you.  Eventually you will live full of compassion and with the right kind of energy. Being vegan is a true joy!

Did you struggle with the same questions or are you in the middle of it? Did it help to read my point of view and how I overcame them? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X