Nicole Just is a vegan. But this certainly isn’t what you would expect from looking at her. Not always, but sometimes, vegans are categorised as demanding and uptight individuals, frustrated with constantly eating tofu and broccoli or chickpeas and broccoli or, worse still, nut roast – the burden their diet bestows upon them. Nicole, however, dispels all of these clichés in her prize winning German food blog Vegan-sein, translated Being vegan. Her blog - filled with bright images, exclamation marks and kitsch cut-out typography - really shows how you can lead a life-affirming plant-based diet and still be insatiably happy. She is, moreover, the co-founder of the Berlin based Supper Club Mund|Art|Berlin and recently released her first vegan cookbook La Veganista. More recently still, the German magazine Brigitte listed her as a notable woman in 2013, among VIPs like Tara Stiles and Jennifer Lawrence – making us insatiable for her, too.
More surprisingly of Just’s meat-less morals is her upbringing. Growing up with a grandfather who was a butcher (hobby: hunting!), eating meat – preferably "medium rare" – played a significant role in her life. Then, in 2009, everything changed. By chance, she found a book about the devastating truths of factory farming and the health benefits of a plant based diet. Nicole devoured the book, chapter by chapter, and adapted a vegan lifestyle as she read. To take away the pressure, she started with a two week vegan experiment, secretly expecting the experiment to be life-altering.
"Right from the beginning I realised, I could never go back to careless consumption of dairy or meat products. Milk in my coffee, a turkey sandwich? Never ever! But the change to a plant based diet is a profund one. Easing the pressure, right at the beginning, is the key to succes."
During the first days after becoming a vegan, Nicole started to explore grocery stores in more depth. She learned which products contained dairy and discovered many new and favourable products. She has, Just tells us, always enjoyed being in the kitchen, but as a vegan, cooking started to become a passion. In addition to these exciting changes, Just says she noticed many health benefits.
"I have been a vegan for four years now and I have never felt healthier or more balanced. My former tiredness has transformed into new energy."
Just wants to share her experience and – of course – the recipes she has created over the last few years. La Veganista is a product of this desire and a tribute to her own life changing experience. The book includes breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes as well as ideas for simple and tasty snacks. In the books coveted pages you’ll also find recipes for every day and for special occasions, and treats to cure a sweet tooth. Novice and expert chefs alike will find something to satisfy their tastes. Just adds: "You don’t have to become a vegan to enjoy this book. Neither will you find horror-stories about factory farming, or any sort of dogmatism. Just give it a try and you might end up finding that vegan recipes are tasty , or even, maybe, worth to cooking and eating more often."