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How I Found My Passion As A Vegan Globetrotter!
By Wendy Werneth

My interest in veganism began with concern for my own health and for the environment. In November 2013, as I watched my father on his deathbed, lying in excruciating pain from a long list of complications caused by Type 1 diabetes, I was struck by the truth of my own mortality and knew that I never wanted to end up in such a miserable condition.

A few months later, as I began to learn more about plant-based diets, I found out about studies showing that the casein in cow’s milk can trigger the onset of Type 1 diabetes in people who, like me, are genetically predisposed to the disease.

Once I knew this, it made it difficult to enjoy eating dairy products, wondering with each bite if I was writing my own death sentence. As I continued to research the subject, I found out about more and more health benefits to plant-based eating.

Environmental sustainability has always been of great concern to me, and that concern grows each day as the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to rise ever higher, and as I watch all the destruction we humans are wreaking on this planet. I knew that the ecological footprint of a plant-based diet was much smaller than that of a meat-based one, and this had been the catalyst for my previous forays into vegetarianism, beginning when I was in college.

Initially, for me, compassion for animals came a distant third behind health and environmental reasons for going vegan. I had plenty of compassion for other humans; I had recently earned a master’s degree in human rights and was hoping to begin a new career in that field. I desperately wanted to make the world a better place, which to me meant working for environmental and social justice.

I’m very sorry to say that I viewed people who dedicated their efforts to animal welfare as well-meaning but a bit misguided. I just didn’t see why someone would want to, for example, volunteer at an animal shelter, when there were so many more “important” or “worthy” causes, like feeding all the starving people in the world.

It saddens and astounds me that I ever felt that way, because I now see the world very differently. While it was health and the environment that led me towards veganism, it was compassion not just for other humans but for all living beings that pushed me to become fully vegan, and it is that same compassion that I’m confident will keep me vegan for life.

Humans are just one of the myriad species of animals that inhabit this planet, and it is undeniable that other animals feel suffering and pain just like we do. I would never willfully cause a human to suffer, much less murder a human, so why should I pay someone to torture and murder other animals just so I can eat them?

Our society has created a vast disconnect between what we espouse as our most deeply-held values and what we put on our plate. If asked, virtually everyone would say that they believe in the values of compassion and non-violence, and yet they violate those values every time they choose to eat animal flesh and other animal products.

We humans have no nutritional need for animal products; we can get all the nutrients we need from plants. In fact, our consumption of animals and their secretions is a major contributor to the many “diseases of civilization” plaguing our society, such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and many types of cancer. For those of us who live in developed societies with a broad range of food choices available to us, it just doesn’t make sense for us to continue to eat animals.

Now that my true inner compassion has been awakened and I have made the connection between violence and the consumption of meat, dairy and eggs, I’m finally starting to realize the extent to which all living things in this world really are connected, and I feel much closer to nature and to all the animals that I encounter. I feel lighter and at peace with myself, as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I also feel empowered in the knowledge that my daily choices make a real positive difference and are helping to make the world a better place. In the past, I often felt discouraged and frustrated because I simply didn’t know what I should do to bring about the changes I wanted to see in the world, and it seemed that even the experts didn’t know how to fix all the problems we are facing.

For every Jeffrey Sachs who said that we could end poverty by giving more aid to poor countries, there was a Bill Easterly who said that our aid money was just creating dependency and corruption and was doing more harm than good. Even my belief in the value of education, which I’d always thought was indisputable, was turned on its head when I saw the film Schooling the World. But now, by extending my circle of compassion to include non-human as well as human animals, I can rejoice in the knowledge that I am saving lives every single day and that my choices are helping to create a better world for all beings on this planet. And, by manifesting my values of peace and compassion, I am helping to spread those values and hopefully inspire others to awaken to the compassion that is also inside them, which will create a more peaceful world for all of us. Veganism truly is the world peace diet.

As an added bonus, I have discovered the joy of eating and, for the first time in my life, cooking! For 38 years I hated to cook, and now I’m slightly obsessed with it. Far from being restrictive, veganism has introduced me to so many wonderful foods I had never tasted or even heard of before. What once seemed to me like some wacky, extremist, hippie fad has brought about so many positive changes in my life. Finally, I have found my true purpose and am living the joyful life I was always meant to live.

The above article was originally published on Nomadic Vegan.

Here is a taste of Vegan Paris through my interview with Thomas Tieyre, that was originally published on The Nomadic Vegan.

The Birth of the Vegan Paris Food Scene

Wendy: For a long time, Paris has had a bad reputation for not being vegan-friendly. What is the vegan food scene like there now, and how has it changed in recent years?

Thomas: Yes it’s true, Paris hasn’t traditionally been a vegan-friendly city, but the situation has improved a lot over the past two years.

Now there are 61 completely vegan locations offering food or other types of products like cosmetics and clothing. It’s really convenient both for the locals and travelers – since Paris is a smaller big city, you can usually find vegan spots really close to you wherever you happen to be.

One of the major shifts was the opening of VG Pâtisserie, the city’s first gourmet vegan pastry shop specializing in French pastry, in April 2017.

VG Pâtisserie has proved that it’s possible to combine the excellence of French culinary expertise and vegan ingredients to make truly delectable pastries. It was the beginning of a really strong momentum of vegan openings that continues to this day.

The opening of VG Pâtisserie was a watershed moment for the vegan Paris food scene.   Photo credit: Vegan Culinary Tours Paris

Finding a wide range of vegan spots in Paris is no longer just a dream – it’s a reality! From coffee shops like Comptoir Veggie or Cloud Cakes and burger joints like Hank or Season Square to the more high-end restaurants like Gentle Gourmet or Le Potager de Charlotte, there is something for every budget and culinary preference.

And many other great places, since it’s impossible to mention them all!

Top Vegan Paris Restaurants

Wendy: What are some of your favorite restaurants for vegan food in Paris?

 Richard: Le Potager de Charlotte is one of my top picks. Not only do they create delicious gourmet vegan cuisine using seasonal products, but this family-run restaurant is also really involved in promoting our French terroir with the awesome local products they find.

Gentle Gourmet was a pioneer in the fine-dining category, and they are still the most creative vegan restaurant here. One of my favorite dishes is “Le Fameux”, a roasted Portobello mushroom burger garnished with a pickled tempeh tartar and a house-made mayonnaise. This dish alone is worth a visit!

A more exotic vegan spot is Jah Jah by Le Tricycle. They offer an Afro-vegan cuisine that is really unique on the Paris vegan scene, inspired largely by the culinary traditions of Africa, South America and the Caribbean. One of my favorite dishes is the cauliflower “wings” with BBQ sauce, which is perfect as a starter to share with friends!

You can read my article about my 5 best vegan restaurants in Paris here.

Meeting Vegan Locals

Wendy: Are there any local vegan networks or events where visitors could meet local vegans?

Richard: There are plenty of ways to meet local vegans in Paris!

You can join the Paris Vegan Meetup Group as well as the Paris Vegan Group on Facebook. Whether you want to find a special vegan spot, learn how to use a certain product or find something special in a store… or you just want to hear about upcoming vegan events, you’ll find the info in these groups!

Merci Bernard is a vegan events agency that organizes awesome events like the December Christmas market and vegan barbecues in warmer weather. These barbecues will continue once a month during the spring and summer period in 2018.

Every year in September, the Smmmile vegan pop festival offers good music, good food and cooking classes to help people learn about everything vegan food has to offer. Once a month, they also hold a party, the “Off du Smmmile”, to highlight new vegan projects and offer people the chance to socialize in a nice vegan spot.

See my website Nomadic Vegan for more destinations and my travel books.

Wendy Werneth Bio: 

I am an intrepid traveler, vegan foodie and animal lover. Traveling the world (109 countries so far!) eating all the vegan food. I’m on a mission to show how you can be vegan anywhere and spread compassion everywhere.

I scour the globe to uncover vegan treasures in the most unlikely places! It’s my mission to empower vegans and aspiring vegans to live their travel dreams without compromising their values.

Be vegan anywhere. Spread compassion everywhere. https://www.thenomadicvegan.com/ 

Uncover the Vegan Treasures Hiding in Your Favorite World Cuisines, read my book Veggie Planet.

Do you think travelling as a vegan is hard? It doesn’t have to be! To discover how being vegan can make your travels BETTER, not worse, download my FREE ebook, “9 STEPS FOR EASY VEGAN TRAVEL”

Back to May 2018 Issue

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