Jigar Jain

My 1 year journey to being Vegan

It has been a year since I adopted a complete vegan diet. I wanted to take some time to reflect on this period & maybe set a direction on how to make this path even more beautiful for me & incidentally make it sustainable as well. Last year in August, I was in emotional distress. It was a kind of distress where most of us would make an impulsive decision just to get over it. And my impulsive decision was - To Go Vegan.

I was brought up as a lacto-vegetarian. Given how skinny I am, the idea of giving up milk & milk products as an important source of proteins was a bit far-fetched for me. I couldn’t remember a single day at home when I didn’t drink milk in the morning. And I loved butter. And I absolutely loved cheese. And sweets & ice-creams. Truth was, I loved most of the milk-products. All of this, while also having some compassion for the animals & standing against the cruelty towards them. I felt like a hypocrite - where my morals were set by the conditions in which I grew up (as Jain) & not by a conscious choice of my own. Just by not eating meat, fish & eggs, I thought that I was already doing enough. While I had heard much about PETA & other organisations, there wasn’t a big culture of Veganism visible to me in India.

Fast forward my life in Berlin - probably the vegan capital of Europe if not the world. I find myself surrounded by so much Veganism[¹] around. Bunch of my friends here are Vegans. Almost every restaurant has vegan options & every other restaurant seems to be exclusively Vegan. The thoughts of going Vegan kept nagging me quite often & it was getting difficult to brush them aside. This was also the time where I started taking first steps in my spiritual journey. A belief that ‘A man is what he eats’ started making nest in my mind. All this together with the urge to make an impulsive decision was a perfect timing for me to go vegan. Going vegan was finally a choice that I made on my own & not something that I grew up with. A choice that aligns completely with my morals & does not stop half way. I would be lying if I say that I don’t miss those chocolate bars on the supermarket shelfs. Or that giving up Paneer was easy because there is Tofu. But as we know - “Hardest choices requires strongest something something” :D When I pour that Soya drink in my Haferflocken, I remember that I am not drinking animal milk. I get my kick by going “Eine Kugel veganes Eis in einer veganen Waffel” at ice-cream parlours. All these make me happy & bring me a little peace.

This is nothing but just a first step for me on a path without any goal yet. But the path itself hasn’t been always easy. There is a constant struggle to maintain my veganism when I am in India or in country side in Europe. And then there was an alarming period at the beginning when my body was not used to this change in diet & lead to serious weight issues. Here’s to me hoping the path ahead won’t have these same difficulties. Also, I have been lucky to be surrounded by people who have similar lifestyle choices. It makes the journey a lot easier.

Leipzig story - I came across this interesting family at a fleamarket in Leipzig who have this alternative/vegan project called “Blueberry Beach”. I can recommend to check it out. They made this really witty artwork.

All Cows are beautiful The only #ACAB that I support.

P.S - Most wines aren’t vegan. If you knew that, great. I almost didn’t believe it when I was informed about that & went into a state of temporary shock when I found it out.

¹ At times, this is taken too far in my opinion. There even exists a Vegan Mineralwasser. This is atrocious. Enabler for Slacktivism?

The "Liebig 34" project

One of the most well-known Anarcha-Queer-Feminist Collective in Berlin. While I am not a super fan of the way they carry out their radical left activism (admittedly, I don’t know much about activism), I have to admit that the state’s response towards them has been quite poor. If you need to deploy a force of 300+ for a demo attended by less than 100 peaceful people, you are doing something wrong.

Liebig 34

To: Berlin State,

Please stop wasting taxpayer’s money on those constant policing over weekends in this part of the district. Just take a step back a little. People clearly love this neighbourhood (else why would there be gentrification* here?) & find it refreshingly different. At least I do (Not a big fan of conformity).

*I like to think that I am not contributing to that. Ok, maybe a little without my knowledge

Reclaiming my mind & time

This is not going to be another blog post telling how evil all social media & internet news* is. There are already hundreds of such blog posts out there. This is just about me lately realizing how much of my time is consumed by these platforms. Initially, I believed that if I am following the right topics, people & news*, the returns would outweigh the cost of my time, but I no longer believe that to be the case for myself. I thought that by consuming vast amounts of information from the internet, I am keeping myself well-informed & updated with current information. With some introspection, I have found that to be incorrect. Consumption of so much opinions & thoughts on a daily basis can be harmful for the human mind.

Usually, I would try to find a good balance instead of blocking something completely, but not this time. So I have decided to block myself from accessing all social media & news* outlets. One may ask, “why write a blog post about it?”. That is because I was once told that if you ever want to make a drastic change in your life & want to keep up with it, express it publicly. So I guess this is what I am doing here :)

*I would hardly call them “news”. These days they are mostly propaganda machine where everything is amplified.