INTERVIEW: KIM TILMAN HAHN ON VEGANISM AND GENERALLY GIVING A DAMN

I’m excited to share my recent conversation with Kim Tilman Hahn on being vegan. Born and raised in Stuttgart, Kim currently lives in Munich with his French Bulldog named Boy. He has a career in art direction for digital fashion projects as well as brand development and website design. Kim enjoys healthy living and creating that work/life balance. He loves to travel and his favourite cities are LA and Stockholm.

JS When you told me you were vegan I was interested to talk with you about it. You mentioned that you were vegetarian for a long time and since one or two years you have been vegan. What made you decide on this?

KTH I have always been very conscious about the environment and also animals, that’s how I was raised. When I decided to get a dog a few years ago I questioned myself: If I let this animal live with me and become such a huge part of my life, why would I even eat other animals? That’s when I stopped eating meat because to me a dog is a cow is a pig is a fish. Also to find out that beef is the main reason for environmental pollution, it all made sense to me and I finally saw it clear as day. To not eat meat has become the best decision of my life. I try not to nourish myself with death, I’m all about life! When I dug deeper and learned about the dairy industry I was literally so shocked to find out what animals have to go through for a human’s five minute pleasure, for instance a cafe latte. Of course there are a LOT of preconceptions and also misconceptions about a vegan lifestyle. It is healthy, it is good for you, it is good for the environment and lastly it’s good for every animal that doesn’t have to suffer for food, fashion or entertainment. Animals are not ours, the planet isn’t ours. We’re guests and we should be more respectful.

JS Those are all valid points and I think everyone should at least consider cutting down on the amount of meat they eat. I used to eat red meat at least 3 times a week and I had no idea it was bad for the environment and sometimes our health. About 8 years ago I attended a lecture by a nutritional therapist on the health benefits of an alkaline diet which was inspiring and taught me a lot. I tried a vegan diet for a while but I lost so much weight which I hated as I’m already naturally thin. In my case I didn’t have enough knowledge on nutrition to make the jump successfully. Was it ever difficult to maintain a balanced diet and healthy physique without the protein and nutrients from meat, fish or dairy?

KTH First of all, I think it’s so great that you’re expanding your horizon on that topic. Because even though the whole topic is on the rise, most people still don’t care. The thing with veganism is, it takes time, routine and knowledge. I do a lot of sports and I need to make sure to get a lot of protein. And there are enough sources. Beans have more protein than meat. You can get a lot of protein from broccoli, nuts and other natural sources. The list goes on and on. Then of course there’s soy. Which isn’t good for the environment either, but billions of animals that are being sent to slaughter get fed – you guessed it, with soy! I know a few vegan body builders that are so buff, healthy and killing it – it’s all possible even as a vegan. I never had any health struggles. But my friend Ramon told me to get nutritional supplements for vegans. So I take these, just to make sure I get all the things I need.
When a vegan, your food choices automatically become healthier, which might be the reason for your weight loss. But I can assure you, there are the most amazing vegan burgers, pizzas and junk foods in general.

JS It’s encouraging that you can easily top up the protein which is important, especially to people who work out. Does this mean you prepare most of your own food? What happens if you are out during the day and need a snack? This is where I would struggle to find something that I enjoy that is also vegan, and what happens when you meet people for dinner? More and more places have vegan options but I image it can be difficult.

KTH If I’m in a good phase with my routine, I do prepare food. Not only because it’s easier as a vegan, also to avoid sugar and it’s saving a lot of money. But I do go out to dinner with friends a lot. A lot of places have vegan meals or small dishes, so it’s mostly not a problem. If I have a snack, for instance a burrito I’ll just tell them to leave out the cheese. But of course, there are a lot of restaurants that are not serving vegan options… which is annoying, but then I’ll just have a salad. Also, I’ll ask for a vegan option, sometimes they do make something special that’s not on the menu. It’s just super narrow minded when people don’t know the difference between vegan and vegetarian.

JS For me the take away from this is that anyone interested in becoming vegan should start slowly. In my case I jumped right in without enough knowledge and didn’t know what to eat other than vegetables. I currently have a few meat free days each week and you have inspired me to look into some vegan options. Before we finish, are there any websites, blogs or books you can recommend?

KTH Basically I can recommend any recipes from Attila Hildmann, he published a few books and thanks to him I can now make THE best spaghetti bolognese. He’s my vegan guru. Even my friends who eat meat think it’s the best they ever had. I’m not kidding. Also I get a lot of inspiration from accounts like @veganfoodshare, @ubekitchen, @dailybestvegan or @veganfoodspot on Instagram. But the very best thing about being vegan is that I get more creative in the kitchen and I try a lot of stuff. Like getting to know about spices, vegetables, cereals and learning how to cook a completely organic, plant-based meal, without any unhealthy ingredients. I’m fully aware of what I eat and I really do enjoy to be conscious. And of course it’s great to inspire other people, like you!

JS Thank you Kim!

 If you would like to see more posts like this then let me know, you know where to find me.

You can follow Kim on Instagram @kimtilmanhahn