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?