Introduction:

 

Hey! My name is Lena. I’m from Italy, but I live in Berlin as I go to university here. I do Communication Studies and Political Sciences. I’m currently also becoming a holistic nutritionist through a correspondence course. Sports are my passion and I especially love running, swimming and yoga. On my Instagram account @len.alini I share a lot of vegan, healthy meal ideas and take them through my daily life in my stories. I also have a German podcast, in which I talk about veganism, positive mindset, sports, etc. Another major topic there are eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa, as I overcame this terrible disease myself and I want to raise awareness about this topic.

What do your family and friends say about you being vegan?

Most of my friends are vegan as well, so it’s basically normal. We all love the food we eat and the vegan lifestyle and it’s great that we’re all the same because you don’t have to explain over and over again why you eat what you eat, what you don’t eat, etc. I love it! 

 

My family is very open to veganism and they cook a lot of vegan dishes as well! My mum only cooks vegetarian food at home anyways and they also try to reduce their dairy consumption a lot! They all love smoked tofu and have it almost every day! I could imagine that they become vegan themselves one day!

How long have you been vegan? Did it change you in any way?

I’ve been vegan for more than 3,5 years now. With becoming vegan, I got more conscious about other huge issues in our society like our plastic consumption, shopping behaviour. I educated myself more on these topics and now I try to give my best in every area of life. The environment is really important to me and it’s not enough to just be kind to other humans and animals. We also have to be kind to our planet, our home. I try to buy as much second-hand as I can and I haven’t bought any new clothes besides running shoes during the last two years. In the supermarket, I always go for the unpacked fruits and vegetables. I always take my bicycle everywhere and I drink tap water. It’s all about the little things and when everyone tries to be a bit more conscious, we can make big things happen!

 

What is your instagram about?

My Instagram blog is all about vegan, colourful and healthy food. All my recipes are quickly and easily prepared and without any fancy ingredients. I don’t consume oil and refined sugar and therefore also my recipes are without them. I also write about personal topics, sustainability, sports and every aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

Tell us an interesting/weird veganism-related case you’ve ever experienced

I ordered raw vegan food on my plane to Bali, because I didn’t know that the vegetarian option was in fact vegan. One meal was only two pieces of lettuce, some cucumber, half a carrot and a few tomatoes. They also forgot to take one of my meals to the plane. I was so, so hungry and relieved when I arrived at the airport. Now I’m smarter and it won’t happen again for sure!

What’s your vegan guilty pleasure?

I eat very natural foods and my diet consists mostly out of wholefoods and that’s also what I always crave. One refined product I like a lot though is seitan. Last year I also tried the vegan almond magnum and I have to say that it tastes exactly like the original one – crazy! I think I’d buy that if I craved something really sweet and chocolatey!

What is your vegan inspiration?

I don’t have someone who inspires me, because I’m vegan for myself. I’m vegan because I love it, it makes me feel good, it’s better for the environment and I don’t harm any other creature with it. I love the foods I eat, I never feel restricted and I’m not missing something in my diet. Therefore it’s not hard at all and I don’t need someone or something to hold me accountable.

What's your favorite place to eat?

I love Maloa Poké in Berlin. It’s my go-to place, because you can make huge bowls out of fresh ingredients and also top them with some more “special” things like seaweed or kimchi. The place is not entirely vegan though, but as you can build your own bowl and they use freshly cleaned bowls and kitchen utensils for every guest, I don’t mind.

What would be your advice to those on their way to become vegans?

Don’t beat yourself up, when you can’t become vegan overnight. Everyone should do it at their own pace, so that this lifestyle is also sustainable. Try to reduce your consumption of animal products in general and then leave out more and more food groups until you reach your goal. Also remember that everyone starts at a different place. I’ve been vegetarian since the age of five, consumed milk, butter and eggs only when they were hidden in a product and only liked three types of cheese. This made it really easy for me and I basically turned vegan overnight. However, everyone is different and every small step in the right direction is already a good one!

What is the best/the most difficult about being a vegan?

That you can eat the batter of a cake without being afraid of salmonella;) Just joking!
I think the best thing is to know, that you don’t harm anyone and that you also do something good for the planet and your body – of course only, when you don’t live on fries and cereals.
The most difficult is maybe, that it might be that in certain parts of this world it’s still difficult to stick to the vegan diet, because they don’t offer a lot of products or because they’re super expensive compared to animal products (which are way too cheap!), so that some people can’t afford them. I’m really lucky, because here in Berlin there are tons of vegan restaurants and you can buy everything at a supermarket or an organic store, but I’ve also been to places where it wasn’t like that at all. However, I feel that it’s changing more and more for the positive!

In your opinion, how would the world change if vegans were a nation and had their own currency?

I think in a vegan nation there would be many people who grow their own plants, everything is without pesticides and it’s more about living together and not just door to door. Everyone is caring about each other more and looking about each other. I could also imagine that there is no currency because everyone does what he’s most good at. By that I mean, that e.g. doctors don’t get money for their job, but they can get everything they need to live for “free”.
In my ideal vegan nation, every person is just more in tune with their surroundings, the planet and all the other creatures in this world.

What’s your favorite vegan recipe? Share the recipe, please!

I love summer rolls! They’re so refreshing and super easy to make!
You just need rice paper, tofu, cilantro, lettuce and your favorite vegetables. I always use cucumber, sliced carrots, pepper and spiralized zucchini. You can also use rice noodles instead of the zoodles, but I just don’t like the consistency of them.
Cut all the vegetables into stripes. Put the rice paper into a bowl with warm water until it gets soft. Lay all the vegetables onto the rice paper and roll it up as it says on the packaging. It’s hard to describe, but basically fold in three ends and then basically roll it to the other side, so that you have a roll, similar to a “closed” wrap. Enjoy them with peanut sauce or just soy sauce (when you don’t tolerate peanuts like me).