- Vegan buddies -
Hello, my name is Emanuela and I have been vegan for about 5 years. I work for Animal Friends Croatia, a non-profit organization, founded in 2001 with the aim to promote animal protection and animal rights as well as veganism, as ethical, ecological and healthy lifestyle. I loved animals since early childhood and I always helped them when I found them on the street or they would stray into my backyard. I grew up in a family that consumed animal products and I ate meat until I was 18 years old. When I watched a video from Animal Friends showing rabbits removing their fur for fashion, I instantly became a vegetarian, literally overnight. I realized that as a big animal lover I was extremely hypocritical because I eat them at the same time. A few more years passed and I learned about veganism, which I immediately embraced as the lifestyle I want to live. It was the best decision in my life that has changed it for the better and made me aware of many things I did not know until then. Animals are our friends and companions and we are responsible for them. We need to be their voice and fight for their rights. Veganism is the future we should all strive for if we care about our survival on this planet. If you want to be a superhero, choose vegan every day. I'm here to help you. :)
Hi, I'm Dunja. I have been a volunteer at Animal Friends since 2009 and have been vegan since 2010. I used to be a vegetarian, but after I started volunteering, I soon realized that just wasn't enough. I have always loved animals very much and all of a sudden I realized how hypocritical it was for some animals to be cared for and looked after and others to eat. I'm just sorry I didn't take that step before. Being vegan today is easier than ever. Meat and dairy substitutes can be found in almost every store, they are very diverse and everyone can find something for themselves. And we can do a lot of things alone at home. I can't imagine a recipe that couldn't be made in a vegan way. Since becoming vegan, I'm more mindful of what kind of food I consume, and I have learned a lot about nutrition in general as well as how to combine food properly. As a Vegan Buddy, I'm here to help you make the transition as easy as possible, from how to handle peoples' reactions to making a delicious roast and fantastic muffins!
Tijana Popivoda (1979.)
My name is Tijana Popivoda. I am 38 years old and I work in a non-profit organization called Animal Friends Croatia, I live in Zagreb and I've been a vegan for a bit more than three years. I consider the decision to become a vegan one of the most important decisions in my life as well as a life-changing one. As a matter of fact, I am extremely sorry for not having made that decision even earlier in my life. I was a vegetarian for about 12 years, but without awareness of the reality that animals live in. The reasons for my transition to a vegan diet were of ethical nature, but over time, I also started to feel lots of unexpected benefits to my health.
My vegan diet and vegan activism are fulfilling purposes in my life, but they also inspire me to take better care of myself. My support, as a Vegan Buddy, is a choice to take personal responsibility for the change that we are making in the world. I am happy to be the support for everyone who is in the process of transitioning to a vegan diet or at least considering the possibility. I will gladly answer questions from all vegans - new and old - out there, share my (or similar) experiences on this subject and try to help them on a path that isn't always easy.
Anita Petrovic (1974.)
My name is Anita and I am 43 years old. I work in a bank as an accountant, but I dream about my own little vegan pastry shop because I love to cook and eat, and I especially love making cakes. Vegan ones, of course! My hobby is "veganizing" traditional Croatian recipes such as stuffed peppers and bannocks with greaves. :) You can veganize everything, including salmon, scrambled eggs and lasagna. All the flavours, textures and shapes that you are familiar with and love can be imitated with plant-based ingredients, so you don't have to give up on anything! I am happy to help anyone who made the decision to go vegan and is looking for support, because that is the key. That is what we all need, because the environment that we live in often doesn't have understanding for our veganism. But that's what Vegan buddies are for. ;)
Nikolina Plenar (1976)
My first step toward vegetarianism happened when I realized that it was quite strange that I love my cats, but am at the same time eating other animals which are equally dear to me and which I could never hurt personally. The decision was definitely made during a Veggie Challenge in 2011, and I already knew that my vegetarianism was a permanent state that would not end after those 30 days. What is more, after only a few months volunteering at Animal Friends Croatia I spontaneously transitioned to veganism, regardless of my previously held belief that life without cheese was pointless (I still believe this to be true of chocolate, but, fortunately, there are vegan versions). The only thing that I regret is that I didn’t do it earlier. The realization that no sentient living being has to suffer anymore because of me and my everyday choices feels fantastic.
If you've ever tried to be different in anything, you know how tricky it can be because of the enormous social pressure. Veganism is the same, or even worse, because diet is a particularly sensitive topic. It really takes balls to be a vegan :)! Try for at least 30 days, because the Vegan Buddy is here to help you get through all the initial challenges!