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The Vegan Network Jelle Vermeersch Frans Claes

Frans Claes

is a Belgian champion mountainbiker.
Photographed by Jelle Vermeersch.
Follow Frans on Facebook, Instagram

Q:

Do you think being vegan makes a difference?

A:

I changed my diet now 9 years ago. After being a vegetarian for 1 year I went vegan in 2009. The concern about the health of our planet Earth was certainly the main reason why I took this step. I studied about the environment for 3 years and it made me realise that we have to act as soon as possible to save the World for our future generations. Changing my diet was one of the fastest and easiest ways to make my personal contribution. Since the emission of the greenhouse gases is the most caused by the animal industry I hope my way of eating is making a difference to protect our beautiful planet".

We, as rich Europeans have the luxury to choose the food we want to eat while others are starving from hunger. I truly believe that by consuming less meat and dairy more people will have the chance to eat more divers and have a fair chance to survive. With the prediction of the growing population (soon 20 billion people) the vegan diet is a more sustainable solution to handle this future problem.

Animal wellbeing was never my first concern in my vegan choice, but later on I got more aware of the fact, that us humans treat a animals very badly, although they have the ability to feel pain just as much as we do. So not eating or drinking animal products will hopefully lead to less animal suffering.
Last but not least, my vegan way of living had an impact on my physical performance. It's hard to proof but I had my best results after I turned vegan. Also, my blood values (blood count, vitamins and minerals etc.) showed me that there is no disadvantage of eating plant based. As an endurance athlete I need many calories and nutrients a day. After learning more about food and the use of seasonal vegetables and fruits I had no lack of any minerals or other nutrients anymore.

By eating vegan, I am sure, we can make a huge difference to save our planet, to make our world a liveable place for our own children, to be surrounded by happy and healthy animals and to have a long and healthy life ourselves. A life to show respect for other people and the environment where we live in.

More photos by Jelle Vermeersch