The world already through vegan eyes – a credo
‘I say in the name of the proud nation of the broccoli and cauliflower eaters…’ Alright, I won’t start it like that, as there are dozens of vegan blogs, I could barely say anything new to my readers. I’d rather write down my own story, maybe some sort of consequence can be extracted from it.
Well, I have been a vegan since the May of 2015, and I was vegetarian for a year and a half before that. Between 2010 and 2012, I was to subside on a reduced protein and salt diet because of my health condition. It resulted that I gave up eating any animal origin products. The unyielding diet was life-saving seeing that less than five percent of my liver worked. I’ve learned a lot about proteins and their decomposition, and as the degrading protein molecules might have caused serious problems (e.g. encephalopathy), I had to evade eating eggs, dairy, or meat.
In October 2012, I went through a liver transplantation, and after the operation I was allowed to consume whatever I wanted. I was encouraged to eat various foods, saying that my new liver needs ‘fuel’ to rebuild my body. A couple of days after the operation I was served meaty dishes and I found them very disgusting. Well, almost any food seemed disgusting. I kept the mixed diet for half a year obediently, mainly because my consultant doctor recommended so, but later I ceased to eat meat. I didn’t like it, and I noticed with joy that my body didn’t miss it. Quite the contrary.
In our household, we have been using eco-friendly cleansing stuff for years and I never buy anything that was connected to cruelty. The idea of veganism has been in my thoughts long ago, but for some reason, I didn’t dare to make the change, it seemed so drastic. Then, for the spring of 2015, the idea that I will try this anyway came to life. I am aware of the unspeakable cruelty of the meat and dairy industry, of the fact that millions of animals are condemned to suffer on a daily basis because of human gluttony. I agree with the vegan principles, and I believe that life is sacred, every form of life is sacred. I also believe that for our spiritual growth and for becoming a responsible, conscious being this personal decision is unavoidable, as for a human it is inevitable.
But it did not go quickly. Maybe because I didn’t watch horrifying videos, or just because certain things need time to ripen. And let’s be truthful, the society is somewhat tolerant with vegetarians: behold we can buy wonderful dishes like fried cheese wide around, along with other super-creative foodies. But the vegans?! What would I eat if I went vegan? I have celiac disease, so I’d start with gluten-free vegan options. Goodness, I loved blue cheese, pesto, fine cheese curd, sweet ricottas, yolk puff, custard, parfés and ice creams. How painful my life would be without them??! And if I sat in a confectionary or in a restaurant with a friend what would I order? Oh, my!
The fact that my sister has been a vegetarian for twenty years and my mum is vegan for thirteen years helped me a lot. Well, she does not exactly cook gourmet food (rice plus white beans), and her attitude about foodstuff is very far from the trendy phenomena I used to call ‘gastro-snobbism’: preparing and consuming overly complicated, overly sophisticated, exotic and pricey foods. It also helped that I discovered how the flavours of the accustomed dishes could be easily reproduced with tofu, soy, millet or other things. So, in February I stopped using milk, in March I had cheese only two times, and for April only the mayonnaise and the honey remained on my menu. For some reason I am a big mayo fan, I can devour incredible amounts of it. I became truly sad that I have to say farewell to it. Stop here for a second. Have to. Why do I have to? Who do I own with becoming vegan? Why do I feel that I have to? Because I want to become even weirder?
Not exactly, I felt that I owe myself this; so as to be able to respect myself. When someone understands the associations, one can no more act like not knowing, we can’t return to our old self. The time of self-deception that everything is happy as it is will be over, forever. Sure, one needs time for the transition, but if we fail to do what we feel is right with our hearts and souls, we will despise ourselves. I don’t know what others reckon, but from my part, I like to think of myself as a good-hearted and sincere person whose deeds and words reflect her true thoughts and feelings. This was why I felt I HAVE TO make the change. And if it is necessary to happen, let it happen now and here.
At the end of May, I was at the Vegan Festival in Budapest, and the presentations proved very useful. They enlightened many things and confirmed my will to go on with the idea. In June, I left behind the mayonnaise and switched to vegan mode fully (not only in the means of food). Afterwards, I don’t understand what took so long, why was I so hesitant. Despite the common belief, it is easy to be vegan. Easy, and not only because the number of vegan bars and restaurants increases rapidly in the country, or because there are zillions of vegan foods available in bio stores, or because thousands of recipes can be found on the internet, no, it is also easy because we are growing in number but mostly because one feels much better this way. As though returning to our natural state. Yeah, and I’ve learned to make vegan mayo, so I don’t even need to hunt for it in shops, and I can eat as much French salad as my belly can bear – it can bear a lot.
I am regularly visiting my doctors, and my blood results and health conditions are closely checked. I have no chronic fatigue, I have no vitamin B deficiency, I have no anaemia, and the markers of osteoporosis didn’t change. Well, taking steroids for thirty years has left its traces and compared to this, my status is amazingly good. I eat a large variety of nuts and seeds, plus a range of greens and fruits every single day. In sum, my health is perfect and judging by the signs, my liver is quite content with my foods.
Let me mention a vegan ‘pioneer’ from my homeland because we have one. From 1900, the sportsman Bela Bicserdy was doing his best to make his healthy diet more popular. It consisted only of greens and fruits, he was a fruitarian as we would say today. Thousands were following his example enthusiastically, he was very popular. As a world record weightlifter, he might have hardly suffered from protein deficiency.
Otherwise, going vegan became quite chic lately, especially among celebrities. Then behold, some of them lose their enthusiasm and quit. Well, if one can be tempted by a slice of bacon, he or she was never really vegan because he or she never really understood the essence of veganism – I suspect he or she only wished to get in the news because money started to run low at home. Then, to make it clear, this is not a diet, this is a lifestyle, a point of view. The principle of “I let you live,” “I love you and so I give you respect” applied on the dinner table. Meat-eating is a barbaric custom wherever it is cultivated; many people had come to see this already all around the world. People do not take the milk away from the cow because they need it but because they know how to take it away. Such an action is morally zero. Humans are the only creatures who, as grown-ups, consume the mother milk of a different species – which milk would have been originally designed for their own babies. If we think about this, it is truly absurd, particularly that this absurdity had been accepted as something normal…
It is not difficult to live as a vegan. The hardest is when we have to step out of our comfort zone back into the world of meat-eaters, because the majority of the world eat meat, convinced they MUST eat meat. Consuming food is crucial but there are more important things in life, and one wouldn’t think this can be a serious source of conflicts, but it can. Inside the family, at the workplace, when travelling, in a restaurant, anywhere. Anybody who becomes vegan or vegetarian will quickly be faced with acidic criticism, passionate lecturing or pity. Sometimes, it’s quite hard to put on a poker face if a friend of ours, knowing that we don’t eat animal parts, invites us to a pig-slaughter feast.
But the world is like this. As for me, I had been eating meat for about thirty years, and I have no base to tell off others doing it. I am not judging them, though some of my meat-eater friends suppose I do so. The mere fact that I ceased to eat meat seems to be so irritating and incomprehensible for many that they don’t rest until they uttered some great wisdom. What they don’t guess is that I feel sorrier about them because of what they eat, and also because they are so attached to consume dairy and carcases. Sad this is, very sad. One could hit back with so many witty phrases, but generally, I desist from entering into word-battles. First of all, because I don’t engage in confrontations if I can evade them; and secondly because I rarely feel that what I’d say would be conceived by the listener.
The view that says we are making a statement on behalf of something each time we sit down to eat is accurate. Nobody told me but I came to see: we have in our power to give up the predatory thinking. Yet, we have in our power to exercise mercy and spare lives. I, for my part, chose to use my power every blessed day, again and again!
I must believe that one day the others will also see and sense the connection: all is one. There is unity in the universe. What you do, I do it, and what pains you, hurts me too, because we, as every living being, are connected with thousands of invisible bonds. We are one with the plants, with the animals, with every creature. Veganism for me is the beginning of proactive wakening, because this is just the beginning, not the end of the road. Since I became vegan, I have learnt countless new things, amazing and incredibly simple solutions that I never thought of before. I feel I am cleaner, inside and outside. I am happy that I’ve made this choice and to the vacillating ones I say, go on, and you’ll see it yourself. 🙂
translation of my Veganfalva page
I’ve made a survey about veganism in January 2017. The results confirmed what we suspected: leading a vegan life is easy, and we feel better after making the change. For more details check the evaluation! 🙂
Vegan related info in Hungary
To find vegan places, communities, recipes and any help: Veganinja – info site
Many of the events, associations, restaurants are present on FB and Instagram.
Groups on FB:
I think there are more for glutenfree vegan, for vegan parents and so on. So keep looking. 🙂
Various products for household use, cleaning stuff or cosmetics produced in this country do exist, even though we are flooded with foreign stuff through the multis as we are to be a market for them. Most of these producers are manufacturers without a huge infrastructure and marketing apparatus (fortunately without animal testing), so it’s not easy to find them. The ones I’d recommend are:
Helia-D (we phoned them to ask after the ingredients of their products and I was happy to hear that they are safe)
Yamuna – cosmetics, beauty (some of their stuff may contain honey, but most of them are okay)
Vegan events (mainly at Budapest):
Vegan Sunday Market (monthly vegan event)
Vegan Food Fest (a few times in a year)
Vegan Wonderland (Christmas Market)
Bijo – Csak a menteset (seasonal market for ‘all-free’ products, foods)
Vegetáriánus Fesztivál (yearly event in August with numerous vegan/raw/vegetarian programs)
Vegán Tavaszi Fesztivál (Vegan Spring Festival, since 2015 organized by Vegán Állatvédelem Egyesület)
Lélek Napja Fesztivál (Soul’s Day Festival – quarterly event held by disciples of Sri Chimnoy & Gunagriha, vegan options, soulfood programs)
Napfényes Fesztivál (Sunny Festival – yearly event with healthcare, healing, wellness, vegetarian, vegan programs)
Indiai vegán gasztrofesztivál (Indian Vegan Gastro Festival)
Vegán piknik (Vegan Picnic)
Kezdő vegán klub (Starter Vegan Club)
Vega baráti Kör – Vega Est (Vega Friends’ Circle – Vegan Evening)
Cowspiracy vetités a szabadságharc napján (Cowspiracy movie screening on the War of Independence Day)
Vegán filmvetítés (Vegan Film Screening)
Vegán Keddek (Vegan Tuesdays)
Vegán Közösségi Bográcsozás (Vegan Community Cauldron Stewing)
Vegán Disznóölés (Vegan Pigsticking – fun social event, people making vegetable sausages together)
These are the ones I know about, and of course, there may be more around the country. Almost all of these get announced on Facebook, so keep checking on them.
Raw vegan options are still rare and they can be found at these places:
Raw Food Academy / Nyersétel Akadémia founded by Gitta Lénárt (Budapest)
Az Élet Étterme (Budapest)
Naspolya Nassolda (Budapest)
Veggie – Raw Vegan Bistro (Budapest)
Vital Café & Bistro (Győr)
Bani’s to Go (Kaposvár)
Natur Ételbár (Pécs)
Az Élet Étterme (Szeged)
Manna Nyers Étterem (Szeged)
Say Cheese (Budapest)
Steiner Kristóf – White City Boy, gastro blogger, writes amazing vegan cookbooks, propagates vegan lifestyle and peace on several public and artistic forums
Bonifert Anna – vegan activist, influencer, psychologist, teacher, founder of Vegán Állatvédelem Egyesület, writer of the freely downloadable Why vegan? book, and the Vegan Animal Protection book
Gunagriha – spiritual teacher, runner, dentist, disciple of Sri Chimnoy, writer of many great help-yourself books
Tóth Viktor – athlete, trainer
For the first go I found them, but surely there are many more great people out there. So I may add more later. 🙂
Hungarian version of this page: Veganfalva