Why We Are Vegan

The question of why we ultimately went vegan might be interesting for some people, since there are a lot of reasons to choose this lifestyle. But let’s start from the beginning. I (Wolfgang) lived in a vegetarian household since basically 2003. My mom cut out meat pretty early because of how the animals get treated. Therefore, my sister and I had a really good and healthy relationship with meat. We cooked with meat maybe twice a week and ate healthy most of the time. Still, in our early twenties we ate a lot of meat and didn’t pay that much attention to what we ate. Who really does at that age? We ate crap, went out partying and did the same thing the next day. Young and dumb, I have to say.

But after my accident I started to incorporate a healthier lifestyle and started with sports like running and going to the gym. Still, I ate meat and other animal products but did it in a responsible and mostly organic way. But after a couple of years I recognized some issues with cheese and other dairy products. I wasn’t lactose intolerant but I was constipated and bloaty after and it didn’t feel great. Also, looking back, every time I had animal products in general, I was bloaty. I was bloaty almost every day and my digestion was crap. Like the worst digestion ever. But of course, you don’t really pay attention, have a lot of stress and it’s just normal that your poop is basically too soft every time you go to the toilet.

So basically, what happened was that when I finished my Bachelor’s degree I was in a lot of stress. All my PTSD stuff was slowly coming to the surface and two months into my Masters it hit me massively. Panic disorder, anxiety and depression are just some parts of this horrible and dark time. It took me almost 4 years to master my health anxiety and bring my mental health up to a stable level. But let’s go back a little to the beginning of 2018. I was bloaty all the time but to the extent that it hurt. I went to bed bloaty and woke up bloaty. My doctor gave me some meds and said I need to lower my stress. Sure, but there was more to it.

My PTSD built up to a health anxiety monster and with it came IBS, or, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I talked about that on my personal blog. The anxiety came with severe digestive problems and all of the processed food, animal products and just overall bad food, didn’t help at all. I had to change something. Therefore, I started doing my research and I tried out various different diets. But overall a vegan lifestyle felt the best. It took over 8 months to fully recover my digestive system and, slowly, I began to feel the best I have ever felt before. My digestion was perfect and almost no bloating anymore.

My wife, Danielle, had been vegetarian for about 8 years, but when she went to culinary school for a year, she reincorporated meat into her diet as well. She never ate too much meat, maybe twice a month. When she first came to Austria in 2017, we would cook meat once in a while, but mostly we ate vegetarian. Danielle didn’t have the same struggles as I did with digestion, but she read a lot about how animals are treated, and not just the animals produced for meats but also the chickens and dairy cows for their eggs and milk. It made her sick. She has such a massive love for animals and has a lot of empathy towards all living creatures. It basically broke her heart to know these animals were being treated this way. So she and I made the choice to go vegan together.

We said that we will go vegan in May 2018 and slowly ease into it until 2019 when we planned to be completely vegan with no exceptions. The decision to do this as a couple made it so easy. We started to read a lot about veganism, what we should eat regularly and what we should avoid. B12 is something that every vegan should take since you can’t get enough in vegan food. Other than that, the transition was pretty smooth. Besides all the comments from the family and sometimes friends, which didn’t make it super easy, we felt like this was something we really are going to stick with.

Going through this transition of what can or should I eat and what should I avoid, opened our eyes and we became much more aware of the dairy- and meat-industry. Things that we never questioned and tried to just ignore, we couldn’t anymore. We saw things from a different standpoint and therefore all the things that are going wrong. All the wasted food, all the crops produced to feed livestock and much more. With it comes the environmental aspect and how insanely bad the meat- and dairy-industry is for our planet.

Going vegan didn’t just feel good overall, it also brought us a little closer to the planet, the animals and all the other living things that surround us. Things we always knew become more relevant to us. You open yourself to something new and in today’s society – at least here in central Europe – you make yourself vulnerable. Meat is a traditional part of Austria and explaining that to people, who have no desire to even start thinking about their life choices, is hard. It is hard because they want to tell you things like “You are missing out!” or “You need meat because of the vitamins.” and many more things. They try to sell you something you have been doing all your life. They rub it into your face as if it affects them personally. That was something we never did. That is also something we never do as vegans. We don’t rub it in anyone’s face or tell them they are doing something wrong. It’s our personal choice and we feel it should be respected, just as we respect their choices to not follow a plant based diet.

We try to raise awareness but, in the end, it comes to everyone’s personal decision and I never want to make anyone feel bad for what they choose to do or what they want to eat. We are listing facts; we try to give animals a voice and make people understand that every piece of sausage, beef or other form of meat comes from a living being. An animal which had no choice of saying no to being kept in small little stables, being taken away from their mother and ultimately being killed for our pleasure. Every time we choose meat on our plate, we do that simply for pleasure, and an animal had to suffer for it. That is a fact. No animal can be killed humanly. Sure, we can kill them fast and without pain but the fear, the uncertainty and panic before they are killed, we can’t take that away.

Why are we vegan? Well, we are vegan because we want to be a part of a positive and good movement to end animal abuse and the mass meat production. We are vegan because we love the environment and our Earth and this a huge part anyone can play. We can choose what we buy, eat or drink. By choosing vegan products, you can know that you didn’t harm animals or the environment. Sounds pretty good right? We are also vegan because of the health benefits. Lower cholesterol, more energy, less tired and overall a better feeling. Going vegan was the best decision we ever made, besides getting married 😀

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