I want all of us to feel welcome and part of the animal rights movement. To have a truly progressive and effective movement we need to take care of and listen to the members of our community who have different backgrounds and experiences, learning ways that our activism can uplift and help them instead of upsetting and alienating them. I'm on a mission to make inclusive spaces and projects which take the needs and experiences of different groups of people into consideration, I want to make veganism more inviting to those of us who feel shut out from it.
For the past few years we have been building up a vegan guide to all of Norway's best vegan friendly restaurants. Many new vegans open our app and are surprised to be able to find a world of different tastes and cuisines that they didn't think they would be able to experience ever again after adopting a vegan lifestyle. Vegan burgers, pizzas, cheesecake and hot dogs are now populating the menus of over 500 places in Norway, and whilst we think that it is amazing that vegans can easily get to experience the same culinary delights as everyone else, we do see a gap in the market...
Thinking of trying out veganism? We know that it might seem like a massive scary change at first, but it gets easy really fast, and in fact by the time you get to your third week as a vegan you will probably find that the lifestyle feels mostly effortless to continue. It's a bit difficult to know how exactly to start with going vegan so we thought we would write a guide to help make those first few weeks of trying out veganism in Norway so much easier. At the end of the three weeks you might not know all the little tips and things that someone who has been vegan for many years does but you will definitely be over the hardest part and know more than enough to stay vegan if that's what you want.
I won't be ignorant to the violence of animals, I will make sure I stay educated and informed on the way they are treated. I simply don't want to live in a world where we shrug and ignore the terrible things that are happening to others because it doesn't affect us personally. I want to live a life filled with kindness, compassion and empathy and that is why I will be marching with NOAH at their Fakkeltog mot Pels this year and every year until all cages are empty.
Here at Vegan Norway we understand that trying to find vegan friendly skincare and makeup products can feel a little bit scary so we want to make an extra effort to find great places to add to our app which sell animal cruelty free products which are free of animal derived ingredients.
KICKS are a well known chain of beauty stores in Norway they sell many scandinavian and international brands of makeup, beauty accessories and skincare. I realised that it would be super helpful for vegans to be able to shop there so I spent a whole day going through their list of brands that they sell to find out what is and is not vegan and created a guide.
When we think of the horrible ways that humans treat the wonderful animals that we share the earth with, choosing to eat a felafel burger instead of steak can feel like a minuscule contribution to their liberation. However we have to remember that in a world where selfishness is rewarded and kindness is mocked as a weakness, all victories for animals are valuable.
There needs to be a clear set of rules to define the vegan label for consumer purposes and these rules should reflect what is mainly accepted as the definition of veganism no matter what our personal ethics are. This helps businesses understand how to use the vegan label on their products, and brings a level of consistency to a topic which is already confusing and scary to the average person.
If we are aware of how our personal ethics (or example only eating fair trade or refusing to consume palm oil) differ from the accepted definition of veganism we make it so much easier for other people to become vegan. Whilst curating the Vegan Norway app I have come across many examples of bad vegan labelling. A restaurant will meet someone who calls themselves vegan but eats fish and so will create a dish on their menu which includes fish sauce, a vegan burger will be served which comes covered in dairy based dressing, or a cafe will proudly proclaim that they sell vegan skillingsboller... which are secretly painted with egg. It is unacceptable for a business to advertise a product as vegan when they are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word, after all it only takes a few minutes to do a quick google search and find out. It calls the trustworthiness of their whole business into consideration, and shows a disregard of respect for the needs of their customers ethics and allergies.
Cutting out the use of animals for food, entertainment and clothing seems absolutely daunting at first but in a short amount of time we find that we become pros at cooking without cheese, milk, meat and fish and are able to scan ingredients lists in supermarkets faster than Usain Bolt running for the night bus home. Dropping dairy, eggs and meat from your diet and maybe switching your running shoes to ones made from synthetic material will make a significant and wonderful difference in reducing the amount of animals used for agriculture and other industries and we are so grateful to everyone who does that, but what about the other perhaps less obvious ways that animals are used in our lives?
Vitamin B12 is required for the proper function and development of the brain, nerves, blood cells, and many other parts of the body. The only natural places it can be found in good enough quantities are foods such as meat, fish, and dairy products, that's why vegans and vegetarians must take it as a supplement.
B12 helps your body in so many ways so please put some time aside in your morning routine to down your pill with your morning coffee, orange juice and toast.
Some noise has been made recently about the results of a survey conducted in the UK to determine how many residents of the country identify as vegans. According to the much publicised conclusions, there are now roughly half a million vegans the UK, around 1% of the population, up from 350,000 ten years ago. Vegans and animal rights advocates may look upon these numbers with delight, but whenever presented with numbers, its good and healthy to ask some questions about it, rather than taking it all at face value. We have seen some people get a bit confused with the results, so we thought we would explain a bit of the methods behind surveying, and hopefully help make sense of what is being widely heralded as proof of the inexorable rise of veganism.
Trondheim is a city I have always wanted to visit. It's the capital of the north of Norway and home to the awesome Nidaros cathedral, amazing jazz festivals, the wharves, and charming Bakklandet. Trondheim is full of students, technology, cycling, music and food. This makes it a super vibrant city, and exploring it as a vegan is way easier than you might expect. From pizza restaurants (yes with vegan cheese on the pizzas) to sushi places to 100% vegan cafes, Trondheim has everything my little vegan heart could possibly want.
I was over the moon when I was asked to come to Trondheim to hold a talk at Trondheim Vegan Fair by Emma Jarvis, the festivals organiser. It's an annual event which attracts a lot of people. As well as a bunch of interesting stalls they also have talks, workshops, a fashion show, various cooking courses, a cinema zone and loads of activities for children. It caters to everyone basically!
My name is Sally. I am a 28 year old foreign woman living in Norway. I consider myself to be an activist, but when I tell people this they often look at me either with fear, disdain, mockery or disbelief. Some people might say that I don't look like an activist, or that I don't act like one. Some people say 'you're actually alright for a vegan'. Some people think that 'activist' is bad word that should be reserved for trouble causers, violent protesters or daring individuals that risk their life for the sake of the greater good. Some people think that activists lack education, intelligence or are 'crazy', but this is usually a way that people put others down so that they don't have to take the issues they are talking about seriously. Maybe you don't consider yourself an activist because you think it sounds way too extreme and unfriendly.
The thing is that I'm just a normal person. I've been through some really tough times and some really great times. However, when people find out that I am a vegan or a feminist or an activist, they usually make assumptions about my personality and life which couldn't be further from the truth.
Whilst some people might look at our site and our app and think that we are a big organisation or a funded project, at the core of Vegan Norway is three normal people, who have day jobs that started a fun project in 2015 that they make no money on. We made an app, the app is our personal guide to cool vegan places. Everything else is just gravy, baby!