I have been a vegan now for almost a year. It really has been the best decision I have ever made for myself. I feel happier living this way, because I have found my true self and values. I have found respect for the animals, environment and myself. Over the past year I have become very comfortable being vegan. Finding new recipes and products like, Gardein, here in the US has made it so easy to be Vegan! However, as my trip to Switzerland approached I was nervous about how easy it would be. It did have its challenges, but it was definitely do-able. If food was bought in the grocery store then it is 100% do-able. However dining out had many challenges.
We went to one Italian restaurant and ordered a pizza without cheese. It came out without any Mozzarella, but still had parmesan sprinkled on top. We told the waiter again we didn’t want any cheese, and they were still confused! No cheese still meant parmesan cheese on top to them!! We went to restaurants where we asked specifically for no animal products, but dressings with milk on salads and butter on vegetables were still added. It was challenging even with a Swiss/German speaking boyfriend to get the orders 100% vegan at the restaurants. Needless to say, I had to pack lots of snacks with me wherever I went, just in case! There are a few vegan restaurants in Switzerland. One in Zurich we stopped at, but it was closed. The vegan community is very small in Switzerland. Going to the grocery store was the best option. There were vegan/vegetarian meat products, whole grains such as quinoa and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. The fresh bakery bread was fantastic, but we had to ask to make sure the bread was made with no animal products. One bread, for example, was made with pig fat! Gross!
There were markets in the cities and we happened to cross one in Luzern. It was a fabulous market with fresh fruits, vegetables and even beautiful fresh flowers! I also must mention that almost every house has a vegetable garden and fruit trees. I fell in love with this! GMOs are banned, virtually everything is recycled, and land, water, and air are safeguarded from pollution by stringent laws. Candy, soda, and junk foods are banned from schools. Fast food is minimized to just one chain: McDonalds However there are also some negatives I must mention. As we all know Switzerland is known for the cheese. The dairy cows are kept almost continuously pregnant, and their male babies had all been killed at birth for upscale leather products. The calves are also sold for slaughter for the veal that is omnipresent on the menus in Swiss restaurants, or they are killed at birth for the rennet in their stomach lining that is traditionally used to coagulate cheese. This is not a “happy cow” to me! Horse meat, pig meat and cow meat are all big winners in Switzerland. I saw shops where horses were butchered, saw live pig slaughter houses while hiking in the mountains, and huge posters promoting milk in the cities. Even at the highest and most remote mountains there were still wandering cows who are someone’s property, who will eventually be slaughtered or abused for their milk.
The Swiss animal agriculture is on a small scale compared to the US factory farming. However, I believe that we need a complete elimination of all animal agriculture, no matter how big or how small.
Hemp/Wheat protein vegan slices
Tofu sausages, veggies, fruit, nuts, hemp slices
Tofu sausages with corn
Carrot break at the lake!
Fresh salad with sunflower seeds, tomatoes and onions
Pasta with spicy tomato sauce, nutritional yeast (brought from home), salad, green beans and wheat protein mock meat