Vegan? Oh no! – Why veganism is so divisive
Or: Why vegans can do without the finger wagging
Hello from Essen! My name is Katy Reichelt and I manage the ‘Farbenfroh’ vegan restaurant in the district of Rüttenscheid, together with my partner, Izzettin Tas. Being a vegan is more than just a form of nutrition for me. It’s a lifestyle, a basic attitude. It’s also a different view of the world, or rather, a vision of how the world could look better. The welfare of the animals is, of course, a big factor in this. I find it terrible how the postmodern agricultural industry treats animals. Anyone who has ever seen pictures of some farms or slaughterhouses may know what I’m talking about.
But that’s not all. Ultimately, there are other good reasons to dispense with animal products. For example, there is the topic of environmental protection: The mass rearing of animals releases tons of methane, which make a major contribution toward climate change (https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/daten/land-forstwirtschaft/beitrag-der-landwirtschaft-zu-den-treibhausgas#textpart-2). A vegan diet also has a lot of health benefits, according to various studies (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-diet-studies), including better blood sugar levels and less cholesterol.
For me Personally, these are reasons enough to follow the vegan way of life. However, I am always surprised at how much the topic polarizes society.
Why are vegans viewed so negatively?
If I’m honest, it’s difficult for me to understand what exactly People have against veganism. Less suffering for the animals is great, and so too are fewer greenhouse gases. And why would you complain about your fellow Human beings wanting to lead healthier lives? Nevertheless, I have met People who were critical of vegans, and sometimes even hostile toward them. When asked about the reasons why, statements were often made that being vegan is not that healthy and that the ecological arguments all need to be put into perspective.
Even if some People see things that way, it doesn’t explain the occasionally extreme disapproval to me. But if you dig deeper, you’ll come across another reason; there are obviously a number of non-vegans who feel as though they’re being judged by vegans. What’s interesting is that this feeling has apparently less to do with direct contact with vegans, but the very existence of vegans is enough to trigger it. I have already encountered People who suddenly felt that they had to justify their enjoyment of animal products. They felt guilty for something they had previously done as a matter of course.
Vegans and the position of moral superiority
On the one hand, I find it exciting that veganism makes People think and causes them to question themselves and their own behavior. But nobody should feel judged, because if you know how People tick, you’ll be aware that this only achieves something in the rarest of cases. Instead, it tends to provoke an act of defiance and increases division between People.
However, would not be fair to put this whole issue aside, in my view. If you look at why some non-vegans feel like they are being put in the dock, you also unfortunately have to acknowledge that the attitude of some vegans certainly has played a part in this.Veganism seems to have become the main purpose of life for some People. Unfortunately, for a small selection of these People, this also includes a kind of missionary plan, which is met with incomprehension and resistance by many others.
I have never actually seen such attitudes in my Personal sphere, but those who see how vegans sometimes talk to each other e.g. in online forums or chat rooms, almost feel ashamed sometimes. There is hardly any respect for individuals.
Being a vegan does not mean losing respect
I have been running the cozy ‘Farbenfroh’ restaurant for almost two years now. My regular customers include some vegans, but also many vegetarians and meat eaters who simply like to eat delicious dishes without animal products.
I’m happy when I’m able to encourage People to rethink certain things in their lives, as long as I’m convinced that it’s positive for them. Be it that someone gives veganism a chance or just wants to reduce their meat consumption. No matter what someone decides or what someone eats: I respect each Human being equally. I do not judge anyone for eating meat, even though I think that there are good arguments against it.
Of course, vegan life is not an automatic sure-fire success. It requires a thorough study of food and nutrients to ensure a balanced diet. The intake of vitamin tablets, e.g. for B12, also forms part of this for most People. Nevertheless, I hope I can still encourage People to reconsider their attitude toward consuming animal products.
What do you think about vegan and veganism? Have you ever thought about giving up animal products? Or have you already had similar experiences to me in dealing with other People? Write your stories in the comments section, I’m looking forward to reading them!
Incidentally, those who want to know more about how to lead a healthy life as a vegan should watch the new video by Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger on the Naturheilzentrum Bottrop YouTube channel. They filmed it in my restaurant – a very interesting experience for me. At the end of it, my partner, Izzettin then cooked a fine dish for both of them. Here’s the recipe of the vegan wild garlic soup, so that you can also enjoy this. Have fun cooking!
Vegan Wild garlic soup
Ingredients (Recipe for 4 servings):
- 100g Alsan (plant-based margarine)
- 1 big onion
- 1 bunch of wild garlic
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 500 ml of soy cream
- 200 ml vegetable stock (or water)
- rapeseed oil
First, peel the onion, roughly chop it, and fry it in a little rapeseed oil. Add the crushed garlic and wild garlic.
Stir everything, blanch briefly, and pour in the vegetable stock or water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the soy cream and bring to a boil. Then season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Finally, add 100 g of softened Alsan, stir until completely melted, and then puree into a creamy soup with a hand blender.