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Already in the 90s, hardly anyone got past a name: Oli P. was the heartthrob of the dailiesoap “Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten” (Good Times, Bad Times) and entered the charts with hits like “Flugzeuge im Bauch” (Airplanes in the Belly) or “So bist du” (So You Are).

Even today, Oliver Petszokat is successful on stages far beyond the country’s borders – with over 200 appearances a year, he is more popular than ever as a presenter, singer, entertainer and actor.

Last year, he made the decision to go vegan. How it came about, why animal welfare animal welfare is so important to him and what role sustainability sustainability plays in this, he revealed to us in an interview.

Why did you decide to eat a vegan diet and how did it come about?

Oliver Petszokat: The thought has been there forever. I was just worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it and would miss out on something – a certain taste sensation, for example.

I am often on the road at animal shelters and sanctuaries. Here I have regular contact with cattle, chickens and pigs . Dealing with these sensitive animals made me think. I know it sounds totally platitudinous and trite, but it didn’t occur to me until then that I was fooling myself if I campaign so much for animal welfare and stand up for it 100%, but still eat animal products.

After I had lived vegetarian for a long time, I had made the decision in October last year “I can no longer reconcile this with my head! I live vegan now!”.

Also, the documentary “
“on Netflix has made my wife and me rethink. After seeing these, it was all the clearer and I knew “Ok: now I’m out anyway!

I knew before that that I would do it if, all the way or not at all. But that was the day we gave away the rest of the animal products in the household and went vegan. Since then, we’ve been pulling it off completely and I haven’t regretted it for a second!

How did your environment and your fans react to the decision?

Oliver Petszokat: Since I have been working in animal welfare for a long time and have very rarely eaten meat, the outside perception among my fans has certainly never been that of the big meat eater.
It only came out publicly because I was sitting at the checkout in a supermarket as the advertising face for the “Germany rounds up” campaign and was asked by the press in this context how I go shopping. My response was, “Just like everyone else – only I go to different shelves.” Then I was asked how I meant it and said “For me it would already end after the fruit & vegetable shelves, because I live vegan.”
Fortunately, this was then picked up by the press.

Who follows me or is a fan, knows how I am on it, so I live very empathetic, social and integrity. I don’t peddle anything that I’m not absolutely 1000% convinced of and have thought about for a long time.

I live very sustainably and as far as possible without packaging. That’s why I always have my metal boxes with me to avoid microplastics, take my veggie bags with me to the grocery store, and show it off on social media. I want to make people aware of sustainability and show what is possible here. People have known this from me for a long time, so it was just the logical step to also adjust the diet.

I already infected all the people around me. On social media I not only show how I prepare things, but also tell how I feel about it. Without any pressure or proselytizing, I report on the positive things I experience in my everyday life.

Especially in a relationship, I think it’s important that the partner goes along with it. I talked directly with my wife and we made the decision to live vegan together. When shopping or going out to eat and in everyday life, it’s just more fun with a partner by your side who understands! After all, you don’t want your partner to be mad or think you’re missing out on something culinary. My wife and I lived paleo for many years and then vegetarian together. There has always been a strong cohesion there.

I can only ever conclude this for myself, but also in conversations with colleagues, many friends and family members, I notice how many are already thinking more consciously and I know they are on the right path.

I don’t want to walk through the world with a raised forefinger, but rather set a positive example and show everyone how much fun vegan nutrition is!

"In terms of ethics, sustainability, animal welfare, love, environment and conscious living, it was the only logical consequence for me to live this way. I'm so incredibly glad I finally have that insight and am eating a vegan diet."

How are you doing with the vegan diet?

Oliver Petszokat: I haven’t regretted it for a second! For my head it was the best I could do. All along I wanted to take this last step, but had delayed it for a long time. I am doing so incredibly well! I am super fit!

Since I’ve always done a lot of running and weight training, it was interesting to see how nutrition affects my fitness. At home I have a gym where I know what weights I’ve managed to date – this is where I’ve completely increased vegan. I don’t have a drop in performance, which is a popular prejudice.

By eating even more consciously and healthily, I have also lost weight, so that I have finally arrived at the weight that my body is normally supposed to be. I haven’t drunk alcohol for a long time either. Smoking anyway not. I have always left out sugar. I feel very healthy and I am doing very, very well!

So far, the holidays have always been the hardest time of the year for me because my body has always shut down and I’ve traditionally been sick for at least 14 days. 2019 was the first time I was really healthy over the holidays – I haven’t been sick since I started eating this way. I want to live in this body for a long time and keep the house in good shape.

Not only physically I feel better than ever before, but also mentally I have found the last piece of the puzzle here. In terms of ethics, sustainability, animal welfare, love, environment and a conscious life, it was the only logical consequence for me to live this way. I am so incredibly glad that I finally have this insight and live this way. I would be happy if this insight comes to others as well – preferably to everyone!

How do you manage to eat a pure vegan diet at gigs, on set and while traveling?

Oliver Petszokat: That’s not a problem at all. I usually carry several large cooler bags and cutlery. I’m fine with that, since I’m usually never on the road for more than three days. I always have cold pressed juices with ginger, lemon and apple juice. Every week I drink two liters of it and take it with me in small 100ml bottles. So I can even pack it in my hand luggage on flights and have already covered quite a few vitamins. Otherwise, for flights I can recommend pancakes, fruit and raw bars, since you are not allowed to take so many liquids.

Then on set I just take my coolers & metal boxes and cook up something tasty for this. I also think it’s totally not uncool to sit there with my metal boxes – I totally enjoy getting organized for the week, getting everything ready, and then enjoying it.

What's on your daily menu besides smoothies?

Oliver Petszokat: I’m not a fan of substitute products. Some of them have a lot of sugar and stabilizers in them – I don’t want to do that to my body. That’s exactly why I would describe myself more as “Plantbased”.

I once had a major allergy test done. I can metabolize spelt super. Therefore, I tend to eat spelt pasta, gnocchi or pancakes. Porridge with oat milk I also like very much! There is simply no convenience product that comes close!

How do you do it if you ever want to go out to eat at a restaurant?

Oliver Petszokat: In a restaurant, I don’t like to order salad and pasta without sauce because I’m still a fan of intense flavors. I’m glad to see that there are more and more really good vegan options and restaurants where you can go out to eat with a clear conscience. Culinarily, there are many new flavors to discover here. As this becomes more and more, I see a positive development here and always go home full!

"Far too much of the disease of civilization can be traced to poor nutrition."

How far do veganism and sustainability go for you?

Oliver Petszokat: Very far. I think it’s an incredible shame that nutrition, sustainability, the origins of our food, the essential nutrients our bodies need and what we’re doing to nature are not yet covered in a separate school subject. These should be basics after all! As a required subject in first or second grade, this would be great!
A far too large proportion of the diseases of civilization can be traced back to poor nutrition. There are so many “bad foods” that most people eat too much of and get sick from without even knowing it. I think that all of this doesn’t have to be the case after all. There are a lot of foods where I wonder why they are allowed to exist. I’m in the process of looking into it even more and want to do a lot of education about it in the future. Both in terms of vegan nutrition and sustainability, I find this extremely important.

Do you then also make sure when you buy your clothes that they are vegan?

Oliver Petszokat: Totally! Nike, Adidas and Co are out for me. Old things I still wear, give away or auction for a good cause. My goal is to have changed my closet one more time this year that it fits for my performances. I have over 250 appearances this year and need accordingly also many shoes, pants and so on. Here I pay close attention to the fact that this is also produced without animal suffering and sustainably.

"I enjoy my work insanely, and that's why I'm able to keep up the pace and intensity of it quite well."

How do you manage to power through over 200 gigs a year?

Oliver Petszokat: It’s the same for everyone: if you drink a lot of alcohol, you tend not to do as well as if you don’t drink. Many think to themselves that they have to “reward” themselves for something on the weekend. Then they do a cheat day with lots of alcohol and sweets. The body has to work hard during the week and as a thank you for holding out, it then gets alcohol and sugar. That makes no sense! I want to reward myself, my head and my body by being really, really mindful of it. That means no alcohol, no sugar, no wheat, no drugs, no cigarettes, and so on. That’s the physical and nutritional side – the other side is:
I enjoy my work immensely and that’s why I can keep up the pace and intensity quite well.

"Cook together with friends and make a happening out of it. And even if you're on your own, give it a try - it's fun!"

What tips can you give to those who want to eat vegan and don't yet know how?

Oliver Petszokat: When I made my first vegan pancakes and realized that there was no need for eggs and that they still tasted great, I was totally happy. Of course, I had to share the sense of achievement with my family right away and they were also thrilled with the taste. Vegan cooking is so easy – anyone can do it!

Just try it out and start with one veggie or vegan day per week. Don’t always get convenience foods right away, cook for yourself and get busy with your food. There are a lot of great vegan cookbooks out there. Cook together with friends and make a happening out of it. And even you are alone, try it – it’s fun! While you’re at it, listen to a podcast, maybe even a vegan podcast, and just go for it. Feel your way slowly, try it out. I tried it and it feels great!

What did you have a hard time finding a suitable pet-free product?

Oliver Petszokat: At nothing. Here I have had no problem at all, as I do not need any substitutes or imitations. I sautéed marinated tofu with it for 1-2 meals at the most. I don’t need the feel or texture of something to bite into – I’m all about good taste, and you can get that easily with spices and great ingredients.

"Environmental protection is not possible without animal welfare and without abolishing factory farming."

What are your observations regarding animal welfare in the media world?

Oliver Petszokat: On the one hand, there are increasingly terrible formats where you think it can’t be true that they exist. What people do to the detriment of animals just to get on TV is incredibly sad. On the other hand, I think it’s good that animal welfare is increasingly coming into the focus of the tabloid media and is also featured, for example, in formats such as breakfast television. I also think it’s great that more and more celebrities are saying on their social media channels that they live vegan or are trying it out. Environmental protection and taking care of the world we ultimately live in is generally a big topic in the media right now. We also have Greta Thunberg to thank for that. Environmental protection is not possible without animal welfare and without abolishing factory farming.
Fortunately, people are now more aware of this and think more about it.

However, you have to be insanely careful in communication. When a party says that they want to introduce a “Veggie Day”, it comes across to quite a few meat lovers as if they want to dictate or take something away from them. The reaction is then hoarding purchases from meat lovers. Rethinking must be a very normal process. The people who do it, tolerate it well, and show again and again how well it does their body, mind, and environment are doing it right.
You will never manage that everyone lives vegan. Everyone can try to use their reach for their microcosm to reach people or at least make them think. The more people do it this way, the more rethinking there is in society for the welfare of animals and the media have also realized this.

What was your best experience during the filming of "Tiere suchen ein Zuhause"?

Oliver Petszokat: I can’t say that across the board, because I just think it’s always wonderful. For me, animals are so important. I’m also looking forward to tomorrow again when we visit an animal shelter in Bergheim. I just look forward to it because I know I’ll be with animals all day. This gives me so much! There I can not highlight any experience, but very much want to highlight a special project: The Erdlings Hof. You can check it out – it’s a great farm where they live completely vegan. You can help out there and support them. I will also be there again soon. I can only recommend to everyone!

Oliver PetszoCAT

What new projects do you have coming up this year?

Oliver Petszokat: I would like to push the topic of “veganism, animal welfare and sustainability” further. In addition, we will do many more great projects with “Tiere suchen ein Zuhause”. There are currently many great plans here – however, I’m not allowed to talk about them yet, but I’ll inform you when the time comes.

From the day after tomorrow you can look forward to my own podcast. Otherwise, feel free to listen in on my radio shows in many different states. Check out my social media channels – here I show you what I’m up to besides my 200+ live performances a year and keep you updated!

What would you like to get off your chest in closing?

Oliver Petszokat: I know it sounds trite as hell, but: the way is the goal!
No one is born a master – just try it, generally try to be aware of everything in life. Free yourself from advertising and the like – just take three steps back. Think about it “What is healthy? What grows on the trees? What is actually there from nature? What was evolution actually thinking?”

And then just try it out! And exactly then step by step, as it is good for you. If it really does you good and makes you feel good, then you can make more of it.

Patrik Baboumian trägt James WIlks, James Cameron und Co
The Game Changers on Netflix - click here to watch!

Live Photos by: Kevin Zurlinden

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