The Vegan Story of: Joëlle Hooijer

Mustafa Boutzamar   •   May 03, 2018

Joëlle Hooijer from Groningen is a young mother and entrepreneur. Her mission is to beautify the world through creativity. She’s helped organizations instigate their cultural structures and is currently setting up a Vegan restaurant in Groningen, called “Peulenschil”.

She volunteered to try the Lently Vegan Beta, so we decided to give her a call and get to know her a little better!

Hi Joëlle! Thanks for taking the time out of your day to speak with us about your choice to go vegan. Could you tell us how and why you made the choice?

Hey, of course! No problem. Shall I start at the beginning?

Sure, just bring us along on the journey you’ve made!

Alright, let’s see... Well. I’ve been vegan for more than a year now. I started in 2016 with a 30-day vegetarian challenge. I used to eat fish. But after the 30-day challenge, I decided to stick to being vegetarian. To be honest, back then I didn’t see myself choosing a vegan lifestyle. I loved my piece of meat.

A little while after that, I watched Cowspiracy and found it impressing. I decided to put effort into going vegan. Mainly because of the impact of eating meat on our environment. I believe that I shouldn’t put my own wishes and lusts before anything else. By not giving in to the seduction of eating meat and contributing to a better environment.

I started researching veganism and collecting vegan recipes. For two months I was watching documentaries and reading up on a vegan diet. I had watched Forks over knives, which shows how you can be healthy without eating meat.

The following New Year’s Eve I decided to enjoy everything one more time. From that moment on I decided to remain vegan. Shortly after New Year’s Eve I watched Earthlings and doing that cemented my conviction. It’s a not a documentary for everyone but the suffering by farm animals is immense. I no longer wished to contribute to that happening.

It was quite the adventure to flip my diet. I did miss certain things, however, replacing them was easier than I thought. It meant I needed to change my mindset and no longer experiencing not eat meat as a punishment. I shifted my focus to the things I could eat.

Did this change have an effect on your cooking and ingredient choice?

Obviously. I discovered new recipes, tried new ingredients and different flavor pallets. It forced me to look at food in a different way. Without it becoming a nuisance.

You’ve chosen to be vegan and you’re a mother. Do you dictate what your daughter can and can not eat?

No. I mean, at home we eat vegan meals. I don’t buy animal products. Whenever my daughter is not home she’s free to do as she likes.

We’ve spoken to quite some people regarding veganism and they actively contribute to spreading the vegan ideology. Is there anything you do to spread the message on veganism?

Haha, veganism is often seen as some kind of zealot’s cult. I know little to no veganists that ‘preach’ the ideology. I’ve eaten meat for years. It is not my position and place to decide what other people should do. The choice to go vegan was my own. What other people do, is their business.

I also don’t want other people to suffer my choices. I think it is important for people to decide on their own time. If, or not, they wish to go vegan. That’s up to them.

Do you use supplements?

Yeah. I use vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements. Vegans tend to lack these substances. Shortage of B12 can have serious consequences in the long run. Nature doesn’t offer everything haha.

How seriously do you take your own vegan lifestyle?

I am the all-or-nothing type of person. I’ve followed my own journey step by step. I no longer buy animal products. I think I have some leather at home. But I am not buying new stuff and I am not throwing things away.

Looking at modern life, it is fairly challenging to live the vegan life fully. Almost everything we use in daily life has an animal part. From fat on train rails to fish scales in certain beer. I check labels and product information to see if products contain animal products. I also keep an eye on E-numbers. Yet not as strict as animal products.

I don’t follow it religiously. Whenever I eat animal products by accident I don’t chastise myself for it. I learn from it. Next time I’ll eat or buy something else.

What social consequences did your vegan choice have for you?

Hmm... The first year I was just ranting about veganism. For about 3 months hahaha! I mean, I dove into something completely new. It had a profound impact on my life. This wasn’t always something that landed properly with friends.

So, yeah. After about 3 months I started to talk less and less about veganism. It always gets spoken about because I simply choose to not eat certain things. Nowadays I’ve started noticing that more and more of my family and friends are turning vegetarian or vegan.

Next to that I am not really one to teach. I listen to whatever people have to say and I explain why I made the choice for veganism. I don’t judge. I mean, I remember the taste of a good steak. It’s delicious.

Do you buy meat replacement products?

I really miss the taste of meat. I mean, it’s not like don’t like it. Some days I’d really like to enjoy a nice piece of chicken. For those moments I am really thankful that there’re replacement products. There are so many good products on the market.

It’s also a great way to show that meat can be replaced. I do not eat it every night. I try to eat as varied as possible. It’s easy and there’s no need to do anything extra for it.

Lently Vegan is about to be released. How do you see yourself using it?

Yeah! Woohoo! Well, I won’t use it at home. Whenever I work away from my office I would definitely use it. I tend to forget bringing food with me whenever I leave to meet someone in the city. eating out can be quite expensive. Lenlty’s ideal looking at its price and completeness. It will never replace my dinner or breakfast, but lunch... Yay!

Thank you so much for your time, energy and honesty! Good luck with Peulenschil and everything else in the future!

Oh! You guys need to come eat as soon as we open!

Will do!

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