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The German Way: Your Guide to Vegan CBD Consumption

03/03/2021 12 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal
03/03/2021 12 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal

Food-wise, you may know Germany as the home of the Bratwurst sausage, but nowadays you’re just as likely to be offered a veggie burger. According to recent feedback, tourists have voted Germany one of the best countries to be a vegan. If this isn’t enough to pique your interest, CBD is also growing in popularity as a plant-derived substance with budding potential. This article will explore how vegan trends and changing German culture may inspire more ethical CBD consumption. First, let’s start with the basics.

Modern Plant-Based Lifestyles

Despite what the trends may suggest, plant-based eating is not a modern phenomenon. Throughout the ages, Hindus, Buddhists and monks of various faiths have excluded meat from their diets and relied mostly on plants for religious reasons. Due to their limited resources, historical peasants would have likely maintained a predominantly vegetarian diet. This way of eating was not by choice, but more a matter of scarcity - which remains the case in many underprivileged communities today. Meat has always been costly in one way or another; whether by the labour required to hunt an animal, the ethical question of eating it, or the financial expense of buying it. As such, previous generations often associated meat-eating with affluence and power. Have things changed, or even reversed, with the dawning of modern veganism?

What is Veganism?

Veganism, or veganismus as we call it in Germany, is a deliberate practice that involves following a strictly plant-based diet. By association, vegans choose not to consume animal products of any kind - including meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Beyond whole foods, this also excludes animal-derived food additives; such as the gelatine found in some sweets. Interestingly, many popular snacks are considered ‘accidentally’ vegan due to their coincidental lack of animal-derived ingredients.

Some vegans are content with eating only raw fruits and vegetables, while others may also choose to incorporate plant-based ‘meat’ and dairy substitutes into their diets. While veganism has become a fashionable controversy within popular diet culture, people who identify as vegan often find interest in broader ideas about society and ecology (such as the impact of the meat industry on the environment). As a result, veganism can become an all-encompassing lifestyle. 

Vegan vs Vegetarian

While vegetarians abstain from eating meat (and fish, in many cases), they still participate in the broader consumption of animal products to some degree. When it comes to eating dairy and eggs, most vegetarians have no reservations. However, many vegan commentators view the dairy industry as an extension of the meat industry. They suggest that consuming milk, cheese, and other such products may invariably contribute to the wide-ranging environmental problems we will summarise shortly. Likewise, some critics connect the consumption of eggs with chicken farming. Thus, vegetarianism is a less restricted and more ‘relaxed’ version of veganism that resists cutting all ties with the meat industry. Environmental devotees may consider it best as a ‘stepping stone’ towards a vegan diet.

Beyond Food

Although this article frequently references plant-based diets and food-related consumption, it is crucial to keep in mind that being a vegan is rarely limited to eating habits alone. At its most disciplined, veganism may draw from many influential philosophies. In some cases, it is a pervasive choice that can impact all sorts of personal decisions; from the clothes that you wear to the car that you drive.

vegan cbd

What is the Vegan Movement?

Social movements come in many different shapes and sizes. Each one generally exists to promote a particular way of life and its potential as an instrument for social change. The vegan movement promotes the nutritional, moral, and ethical value of non-animal resources- while resisting the industrial tendency to use animals for commercial purposes. In turn, it condemns the exploitation of living creatures and, often, rejects mainstream consumer culture. 

When Did Veganism Start?

A progressive offshoot of the Vegetarian Society, the Vegan Society was co-founded by the late animal rights campaigner Donald Watson in 1940s Britain. Along with his wife and close friends, Watson proved that it is possible to survive on a meat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free diet. 

Inspired to share this new way of life with others, he authored many essays and invented the term ‘vegan’ as a means of differentiating from other plant-based movements (such as vegetarianism). The Vegan Society is regarded as a flagship society of the movement as a whole, and you can often find its official stamp of approval displayed on certified vegan products. Today, celebrities such as Woody Harrelson, Ariana Grande, and Joaquin Phoenix have voiced their support for veganism. 

Debates Surrounding Veganism

As with most counter-cultural movements, veganism has attracted its fair share of negative press over the years. Perhaps part of the reason lies in the fact that it involves a dramatic departure from contemporary Western eating habits and perceived ‘norms’. Since eating influences our family dynamics and broader social lives, some audiences may see veganism as a threat to traditional values. According to Psychology Today, the fear of change is a complex issue that may potentially cause some of us to react with scepticism or resistance. 

However, some critics have accused the vegan movement of:

  • Exporting plant produce to foreigners instead of feeding locals 
  • Relying on ‘environmentally destructive’ crops, such as soya
  • Being inaccessible due to its expensive reputation
  • Being potentially triggering for those at risk of developing disordered eating

  • Why Do People Go Vegan?

    According to food industry analysts at Chef’s Pencil, emerging online search trends on the theme of vegan eating are currently at all-time highs. Adding to this, the market for vegan food products exceeds an estimated value of 1.29 billion dollars in the USA alone. Delving into some of the more prevalent factors that may motivate people to commit to a vegan lifestyle, writer Benjamin McCormick suggests that:

  • Over two-thirds of vegans may be motivated by animal welfare issues
  • Personal health may also be a critical determining factor
  • Women may be more likely to maintain vegan diets than men
  • Adults under the age of 35 may account for over half of the vegan population
  • Veganism and the Environment

    At this point, it may help to place veganism within the context of the current climate crisis, which the United Nations (UN) calls “a race we are losing, but a race we can win.” In 1896, Finnish scientist Svante Arrhenius was widely ridiculed for his theory that the excessive burning of fossil fuels could raise the Earth’s temperature. Now, most of us recognise climate change as a severe threat to life on Earth - one which we, as humans, have a shared responsibility to appease. Millions of people are taking action by changing their consumption habits.

    Plant-Based Living and Climate Change

    Research recently published in the Science journal indicates that the animal-based food industry dominates more than 80% of the world’s farmland and may be responsible for over 50% of global carbon emissions. That’s more land than the arable (crop) farming sector and more pollution than the entire transport industry. Understandably, these speculations have attracted considerable academic attention. Another study on the same theme suggests that plant-based diets may potentially promote ‘planetary health’ by saving water, reducing harmful gas emissions, and enhancing food security. 

    Does ‘Going Vegan’ Help Animals? 

    The argument that cutting out the meat and dairy in your diet can directly impact the standard of living experienced by animals is, for many people, a compelling one. Numerous documentary films have campaigned for veganism on ethical grounds, including the controversial hit What the Health. Plant-based living may help reduce habitat destruction, promote more compassionate farming practices, and potentially prevent the animal cruelty associated with the modern food industry. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), adhering to a vegan diet may potentially benefit both humans and animals.

    Potential Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet 

    Beyond the moral and environmental reasons for going plant-based, some people approach veganism as an opportunity to adjust their eating habits, and, in turn, influence their physical wellbeing. Here, many professionals in the nutrition field advise that vegans should be strategic in sourcing plant-based alternatives to essential food groups like proteins, B-vitamins, and fatty acids (often found in animal products).

    Studies show that following a well-planned vegan diet may potentially affect our bodies by:

  • Reducing some symptoms of inflammation
  • Impacting the digestive system
  • Representing a diverse, rich variety of vitamins and minerals
  • Bypassing the potential health risks associated with dairy and meat consumption

  • The Rise of Veganism in Germany

    According to a recent report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Germany is shepherding a ‘vegan revolution’ in Europe. Over one-third of the German population have expressed support for the plant-based food sector, and over 60% of people in the country are consciously attempting to eat less meat. In 2015, Germany had the second-largest vegan food market in the world. As of 2019, the total number of vegans living in Germany has surpassed 8 million - more than Ireland’s entire population.

    If you’re surprised by these trends, you’re not the only one. Alongside Germany’s booming market for reliable vehicles and electronics, public interest in plant-based living is growing at an incredible rate. While meat-based national dishes such as schnitzel are still popular, increasing numbers of Germans are willing to commit to a vegan diet (or at least experiment with one), and are even trying plant-based versions of traditional cuisine. 

    Changing German Attitudes

    As far as tradition goes, the typical German diet prioritises meats and cheeses, along with carbohydrate-rich potatoes and bread… Oh, and let’s not forget the classic, hearty German beer. Many world-revered delicacies have emerged from rustic German culture, but there is perhaps more to be desired from a nutritional perspective. Nowadays, Germans are developing vegan-friendly versions of traditional Oktoberfest recipes to support plant-based alternatives for every occasion. Since even beer can sometimes contain animal-derived ingredients, the vegan beverage market is also expanding to accommodate the vegan movement.

    German vegan trends may also correlate with broader attitudes towards the environment. Recent survey results interpreted by the National Centre for Social Research indicate that contemporary Germans may be significantly more concerned about climate change than their European counterparts. Research also suggests that Germans may generally be less skeptical of global warming, and are more ready to take practical measures in response to the climate crisis. 


    Vegan Restaurants in Berlin

    According to the travel website I Am Expat, Germany is among the top six most vegan-friendly countries in the world. An increasing abundance of diverse plant-based dining options are available. These trends are particularly the case in Berlin - a city in which The Telegraph calls ‘one of Europe’s unlikeliest havens for vegans.’ Berlin offers scores of vegan-specific restaurants and an inclusive atmosphere. Here, asking for a vegan menu is considered a perfectly normal request - as it is in the rest of Germany. The global plant-based food network Happy Cow recently ranked Berlin as one of the best cities for vegans to visit in the world.

    Is CBD Vegan? 

    Now that we’ve learned about the background of veganism, and how many Germans have embraced it, let’s explore how these factors connect with vegan-friendly CBD consumption. If you’re not yet familiar with CBD, there is no need to worry. Before we continue, we will briefly review the nature of this fascinating plant-sourced substance, and explore some of its potential benefits.

    What is CBD? 

    The cannabis Sativa plant contains over 100 unique compounds that have intrigued scientists for centuries. Sourced from the industrial hemp subspecies of the cannabis Sativa plant, CBD (cannabidiol) is one of these compounds. Since its discovery in the 1940s, CBD has attracted considerable attention from researchers, who continue to contemplate its properties and potential merits. According to the research network Canex, we may have entered the modern era of cannabis-inspired wellbeing - making CBD a very topical supplement to consider adding to your diet, regardless of whether you’re a carnivore or plant-lover. 

    The Nature of CBD

    CBD begins in nature: the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the industrial hemp plant, to be precise. It is a plant-based substance that you can use as part of a vegan lifestyle - provided that your CBD product of choice contains no animal-derived additives or contaminants. CBD exists as an oily substance that manufacturers extract from industrial hemp in a controlled laboratory setting. There are three main types of CBD:

    Full-Spectrum CBD features additional plant compounds (such as cannabinoids and terpenes) which may potentially work together in a useful, synergistic way to create an ‘entourage effect’. Some people describe it as ‘earthy’ in flavour. 

    Broad-Spectrum CBD varieties involve different distillation processes to separate and discard other naturally-occurring compounds. Generally speaking, Broad-Spectrum CBD will contain most of the original cannabinoids from the plant, but minus the psychotropic compound THC. 

    CBD Isolate represents CBD in its most isolated or ‘pure’ form, and is very mild in taste.

    Is CBD Addictive?

    While research is ongoing, there is currently no evidence to suggest that CBD is an addictive or psychotropic substance. This fact may seem hard to believe for those who recognise cannabis as an illegal drug. However, it’s all a matter of chemistry and national policies. 

    Some forms of cannabis may produce a psychotropic effect when consumed, but this is mainly due to a compound called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Exposure to significant amounts of THC might potentially have some mood-altering and habit-forming consequences. It is important to note that these side-effects do not apply to CBD. 

    Is CBD Legal? 

    As a cannabis strain that is naturally low in THC and high in CBD, industrial hemp is ideal for CBD production. Today, governments in Britain, Germany, and beyond have classified CBD as a legal food supplement - as long as it contains no more than 0.2% THC per product. To establish your own peace of mind, make sure to check the CBD policies where you live before making any large purchases or consumer decisions. 

    Potential Benefits of CBD

    According to Brightfield Group, the European CBD market may increase by up to 400% by 2023. While this is a speculation based on current consumption patterns, it is also quite extraordinary. Evidently, many people consider CBD to be a worthwhile investment - whether in the business world, or as part of your daily self-care. But what do the studies say? 

    Since CBD research is an emerging field, the reports we have access to today are not as extensive as they will be in the future. However, CBD users have anecdotally suggested that there may be a wide array of potential benefits.

    As far as science goes, some studies suggest that CBD may potentially help to:

  • Reduce some symptoms of stress and anxiety with its possible anxiolytic effects
  • Affect some signs of inflammation 
  • Impact some symptoms of pain associated with swelling
  • Influence your skin, and possibly lead to self-perceived changes in texture
  • hemp sustainable

    CBD and the Environment

    As a substance derived from industrial hemp, CBD often represents a planet-conscious ethos and sustainable resource. Environmental journalists have praised hemp crops for decades, and some have even suggested that the plant’s ‘eco value’ is nothing short of miraculous. As summarised by Ecological Agriculture Projects, hemp can weather the elements with minimal impact on the surrounding land - ‘cleansing’ the air and soil while also providing edible seeds for animals and humans.

    According to industry expert Joseph Nunez, producing hemp is a venture that generates very little waste, because the plant can serve many practical purposes. Consequently, many consider CBD to be a renewable and progressive substance.

    If you’re looking for a CBD product that harmonises with vegan values, the following factors may be particularly desirable:

  • Full-Spectrum extract
  • Forest-friendly cultivation
  • Ethically-sourced ingredients
  • Organic status
  • Third-party lab testing (validated by a Certificate of Analysis, or COA for short)

  • Popular CBD Products, and How to Take Them

    If you’re new to the fast-growing world of cannabis-infused wellness, finding the right CBD product can feel a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack. However, it doesn’t have to. For your convenience, we’ve outlined some of the most popular CBD products below.

    CBD Oil

    CBD oil is highly sought-after as a discreet and relatively direct way to consume CBD. Chemically, it is a combination of CBD extract and a plant-derived base oil, such as coconut oil. Often, you can dispense it from a glass bottle using a dropper. Here at VAAY, we’ve chosen a pump spray for innovative and on-the-go use. Simply apply one or two sprays under your tongue, and leave to absorb for about 20-60 seconds. 

    CBD Capsules

    Like supplementary oils, CBD capsules are taken orally with water and preferably accompanied by food. Typically, manufacturers encase CBD in an artificial shell which may or may not be vegan-friendly. Capsules made using animal-derived gelatine are not suitable for vegans, whereas those derived solely from plant-based ingredients are. You should find these details stated clearly on CBD product packaging. When in doubt, try contacting the brand directly. 

    CBD Vape Diffuser Pens

    If you enjoy vaping, why not consider switching your traditional apparatus for a convenient CBD diffuser pen? Inhaling CBD as vapour will enable it to be absorbed swiftly into the bloodstream via the lungs. CBD diffuser pens are widely thought to potentially be best for those who already practice vaping.  

    CBD Topicals

    Perhaps the most diverse category of products, CBD topicals represent an enormous variety - including facial skincare, body oils, and bathing products. Since many of us are already in the habit of applying moisturising products to our skin, CBD topicals can blend seamlessly into your daily routine. At VAAY, we offer a versatile range of skincare staples and indulgent treats: from CBD massage oils and active gels to bath bombs.

    VAAY: A German CBD Trail-Blazer

    Throughout this article, we’ve observed the cultural shifts that have taken place within the vegan movement - particularly in Germany. At ever-increasing rates, Germans are laying aside former eating conventions and adopting more environmentally-friendly lifestyles in response to modern demands. This emphasis on plant-based sources is essential to us at VAAY. 

    Backed by years of industry experience and scientific research, our goal is to create premium-grade CBD products that are vegan-friendly and widely accessible. We recognise the growing urgency of the current climate crisis, as well as the increased stresses and broader pressures that may motivate you to seek out new food supplements and self-care products. Regardless of your dietary preferences, you can rest assured that our CBD is a planet-conscious choice.

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