The 23-year-old Jonas Von Essen from Sweden has just become the World Memory Champion, scoring the highest number of points ever recorded, with feats such as memorising an entire pack of cards in less than a minute and recalling thousands of digits. He also remembers animals every time he eats – yep, Jonas is a vegan – proving that a plant-based diet isn’t just the most compassionate choice. It’s also the smartest!
Jonas answered the following questions about his compassionate plant-based diet:
Why did you decide to go vegan?
Simply because I didn’t want to contribute to the suffering and killing of other living beings. Unfortunately, it took my viscous human mind 20 years of living on this planet before it got sane enough to decide to go vegetarian and a year and a half longer before it understood that if it really wanted not to contribute to the suffering of animals, vegan was the way to go.
Did any books, bands, celebrities, or athletes influence or inspire you to go vegan?
Steph Davis – American climber, wingsuit flyer and vegan – was an inspiration. I read her book Learning to Fly at the same period that I went from vegetarian to vegan (it was also during the same period that I started skydiving). I don’t think that she was the one who made me take the decision, but she made it feel easier to take.
What are some of your favourite foods?
I really like Asian foods, like fried tofu with lots of spices. I also like creating cheese-substitute, e.g., with nuts and herbs to make vegan cheese lasagne and different pasta dishes.
What benefits have you noticed since becoming vegan?
The biggest benefit is probably that I feel that I am doing something (or rather keeping from doing something) to make this world a better place. … Looking at my results in memory disciplines, I can only say that since I became vegan, I have won six out of seven international competitions, of which the latest was the World Memory Championship, where I got the highest score ever achieved there (which also means a higher score than any meat-eater has ever achieved!).
What advice would you have to anyone who wants to help animals but isn’t sure where to start?
Go vegan! I think that this is the single easiest way to make things better. You’re not only refraining from contributing to hurting animals but also minimising your impact on the environment. It’s not nearly as difficult as it first appears! I find it not to be a sacrifice at all since much of the food I eat now tastes better than what I ate when I was a meat-eater. And who knows – it might just give you the best memory in the world! 😉