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Veganes Sommerfest 2016

published on 2016-08-22 by Sara
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Alexanderplatz: Shopping purgatory. With TK Maxx and Primark nowadays grabbing most of the visitors cheap sale attention, it’s become a typical spatial symbol of a quick, wasteful shopping culture. Cheap and discardable is the motto. [1. I am not an elitist shopper. I hate shopping, but I don’t double-check everything for its ingredients or labor purity. I’d still never take anybody seriously who delightfully and proudly displays their Primark bag on the train. At least I’m ashamed when I exploit the poor, usually.] You can imagine my surprise when I heard that the first annual Vegan Sommerfest was going to be slapped right into the hotspot of greasy industrialized urban experiences.

What? Between all the mindless shoppers, the tasteless stag parties and the mobile Rostbratwurst grill vendors? On Alexanderplatz, the event-retort of other progressive experiences, such as “Budenzauber Weihnachtsmarkt” and “Budenzauber Sommermarkt”? A vegan Festival? But the peasants won’t understand!

Being Slightly Vegan

I’ve been trying to go vegan for a few weeks now, with some ups and downs on the road. Hell, I love meat, I love weightlifting, and I used to laugh about the green idiots who think that animals need to be protected. But then I grew up and saw what the world is becoming. It took me only a few days of talking to my friends and of making a conscious decision not to close my eyes.

I am not opposed to killing animals for food, but the way it’s being done in our day and age is not how it should be. The dairy industry is just the same. I am opposed to the industrialization of our food, and of our lives. And I can make the sacrifice, because I won’t starve; unlike many other people in this world. This is just my perspective, and I won’t judge anyone for eating meat or eating dairy products. Especially because a real vegan would probably laugh at my attempts of being conscious, and call me a weakling for succumbing to the taste.

Being vegan is a political choice to me. One that goes hand in hand with being against low-incomes, being against classism, being against my heritage being destroyed in Syria, being against agendas that separate people from one another, because they’re scared to lose what they have.

For once, I realize how hard it is to be actually aware and making an effort to be responsible. But what I’ve known long before, is that a community – a social space for like-minded people who share the same struggles as you – can help with the transition. This goes for religion, cross-fit and veganism. I still won’t get my curls dreaded or wear those atrocious hippy pants, and my veganism still stops at fashion in general — but I had to start somewhere, doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop. Just mentioning all that casually in case you wanted to make me your role model. Don’t.

Anyway. When I visited Alexanderplatz this past weekend, I was not only looking at the Vegan Sommerfest as a food market, but as a place to share experiences and evaluate my struggles in the face of others who have taken the same step.

Vegan Food Market on Alexanderplatz? Makes sense.

It may have seemed completely absurd to place such a controversial food market and fair amidst Alexanderplatz, but when we strolled past the various food stalls, we realized that this may have been the best possible scenario for the occasion. Many people got lost in the delicious smells and the range of non-animal products, and some of them may have been just tourists or shoppers who randomly stopped by. I am, in fact, a 100% sure that half of the visitors at the Vegan Sommerfest were neither vegan nor vegetarian. And it was crowded! The festival went on for three full days, so I can only imagine how many people passed by randomly and decided to have a snack.

Kids, tourists, even people with Primark bags were altogether dumbfounded at what they saw: everything. Burgers, tacos, döner, waffles, chocolate, ice cream – just to name a few products. Some stuff took a bit more getting used to, like the Tofu varieties. Some of the vendors are already well known on the Berlin Vegan Map, like the newest addition, Brammibal’s Donuts on Maybachufer. It’s a delight to try these donuts, vegan or not.

Ultimately, “vegan or not” is the right way to think about it. It shouldn’t matter if it’s vegan if you don’t want to be politically invested, but most of the snacks we tried were extremely delicious (and usually healthy). There’s one product I’d like to highlight especially: Guampa. [1. Full Disclosure: My posts on Instagram about Guampa were sponsored, as they were in the past when we worked together. This is how I got to know them. This post, on the other hand, is not.] Ever since Blogfabrik loaded a pallet or two into the office fridge, I’ve been drinking this energy drink almost every day. Yes, it makes my poop green, but it’s sweetened with Stevia exclusively, it tastes fresh like Grapefruit, and when it’s ice cold, it can be a delightful mixer for your cocktail. It’s vegan, but that’s now why I like it. I like it because of the meager calorie count and the actual caffeine ratio. There are other brands that deliver “Zero” sugar alternatives, but I hate the slight aftertaste of fake sugars. Additionally, they make my stomach rumble. I know I shouldn’t drink too much soda and energy drinks anyway, but it’s 9pm and I’m still in the office and I have to  figure out where I’m going to order-in vegan food, which is going to take me another 2 hours, so this girl staying WOKE. [1. Full Disclosure 2: I procrastinated all of the work to paint my hallway dark-blue, all by myself, which resulted in nothing but my personal DIY-Apocalpyse. I thought it was going to be a good cleanse from the office life, but I was wrong, WRONG, and that’s why I’m doing late-night shifts at the office.]

Apart from being a tasty drink, the girls who work the brand and promote it are absolutely fucking hilarious. Did I mention it’s vegan?

The Vegan Struggle

The Vegan Sommerfest wasn’t just all about food, though. There were also panels and discussions about vegan lifestyles, and many petitions to sign to combat animal slaughtering and meat-consumption. It’s fucking tough, man. And I’ve been through all of the arguments again, and again, against living vegan, and I find it absolutely worth to list them. It might seem counterproductive at first, but that’s what everybody goes through:

At the end of the day, it’s not easy to go through with it. I’m only at the beginning and everyday I think about just giving up. And most of the time, I do, because I love cake and chocolate. But these are the things I should be giving up anyway, so this has nothing to do with being vegan at all. I do believe sincerely that if alcohol wasn’t vegan, this whole concept wouldn’t be a thing.

Anyway, what has all of this to do with the Vegan Sommerfest? Just to wrap it up, I think it’s fascinating to see where we’re at with the development of products that will keep us healthy and satiated without relying on animals. As I carefully tried to explain through the bullet points above (you may correct me if I’m wrong at any time), it’s hard being vegan. It’s hard changing habits, and it’s definitely not easy hitting the right macros if you don’t pay attention. The Vegan Sommerfest is important, as it displays the “state of the art” products and ways to embrace being vegan.

I hereby apologize to all my friends whom I’ve made fun of for being vegans in the past. I’m trying to become one of you, but I may need help along the way. Where’s my Crossfit membership?

Veganes Sommerfest Vegan Berlin Alexanderplatz-4738

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