World Vegan Day – Benefits of a plant-based diet
Picture this, sinking your teeth into that first bite of a juicy cheeseburger at the end of a long day. The beautifully seasoned meat patty on the brioche bun cooked to perfection, with the tantalising taste of the ketchup and American mustard combining perfectly. Taking a swig of your soft drink to wash it all down, a quick and easy meal that’s really hit the spot. Back at home, you don’t feel great, your stomach is churning, and your energy levels are low. Is there another alternative out there to the mundane lifestyle you have been tangled into? Surely there is a more ethical and cleaner way of eating? We have all thought about changing our diets at one time or another, whether it is to lose weight or generally feel better overall. Let’s dig deep into the history and benefits of the vegan lifestyle and why it is important to be more conscious and aware of what we put into our bodies.
You may need that extra burst of energy to lift-up your spirits or maybe you are becoming conscious about the surroundings of the world in which we live. Look no further, the veganism movement has been fast growing and increasingly accepted worldwide. The increase in social media awareness in the last decade has allowed for revealing the alternative avenue of a plant-based lifestyle and all health benefits that come with.
What is Veganism?
Firstly, veganism isn’t specifically a dietary choice, but rather a lifestyle that promotes the exclusion of the exploitation of cruelty towards animals. It denotes a moral philosophy that supports the emotional acceptance in limiting harm reduction to sentient beings. This includes not using animals for food, entertainment, clothing, products and production labour. Most people have an emotional connection with animals, however, turn a blind eye when it involves animals being used in our food. To be vegan, involves abstaining from consuming meat, eggs, fish, honey and various dairy products. Instead, the diet consists solely of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, beans, grains and seeds. Following a plant-based diet can be very healthy and beneficial for our bodies and our environment, also to future-proof the survival of our species in years to come.
The History of Veganism
The history of veganism can be traced back to over 2000 years ago in ancient Indian and eastern Mediterranean societies. Greek Philosopher and Mathematician Pythagoras actually described the use of what could be considered the modern-day vegetarian diet, specifically for religious and ethical reasoning in that time period. Buddha was also famous for discussion about vegetable-based diets in his teachings. Hinduism, the world’s oldest religion, promotes the belief that human beings should never inflict pain or suffering on animals. It wasn’t until the 1940s, when several members of the British Vegetarian Society (now known as The Vegetarian Society UK) coined the term “veganism”, to steer towards a non-dairy based vegetarian movement. The word vegan originates from the word vegetarian, using the first 3 letters and last two letters of the word.
The Benefits of Veganism
The benefits of veganism relate to three key points; to benefit the animals, our environment and our health. Benefits on our own health include providing all necessary nutrients for the body, boosting our mood and decreasing the risk of disease for the future. A vegan diet can also help to lose weight quickly, lower risk from heart disease, may protect from some cancers and even reduce pain from arthritis. The environmental impacts from factory farming and meat production include the need for large amounts of land, energy and water for production.
As the human population continues to grow at an alarming rate, we will require more agricultural space to sustain the meat industry. Plant-based food production has the lowest amount of impact on the environment and releases less air pollution into the atmosphere.
Monday November 1 this year is World Vegan Day, it is a public celebration that allows for the continued spread of the vegan movement. This is done, particularly through the tool of social media including sharing vegan recipes, promoting the vegan lifestyle and educating people. Many events, markets and festivals have also been set up to highlight the importance of this day.
Here at MaZi restaurant, Lantern Club we pride ourselves on our options to cater for all diets. Our fresh new menu has several delicious and nutritious dishes specific to the vegan diet. Try our vegan power bowl, containing roasted sweet potato, avocado, peas, shallots, mesclun, red quinoa, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and lemon tahini dressing. The vegan bowl from MaZi is already becoming a crowd pleaser signature dish with its nutritious and delicious infused ingredients.
BBQ Vegan Souvlaki Recipe
Souvlaki is a traditional Greek dish and famous street food, it can come marinated in many different varieties. This simple recipe infuses traditional BBQ-style skewers with a healthy vegan Mediterranean twist.
Tofu is the main ingredient in this dish and harbours the perfect texture for firing up the grill. This dish might be something you can try to indulge in for your next family feast.
Follow the steps below:
500g block of tofu, ¼ cup olive oil, ½ cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 clove crushed garlic, ½ diced white onion, agave, salt, pepper to taste and ½ cup tomato puree
- Begin by draining, pressing and cutting tofu into rectangles to then place onto skewers.
- Create the marinate by using olive oil, agave, tomato puree, soy sauce, garlic, onion, oregano, salt, pepper and mix them all up into a jar.
- Place the skewers on a tray, pour marinate over the top and let them sit overnight in the fridge to allow for the flavours to soak into the tofu.
- The following day, fire up the fry pan or BBQ grill and place the tofu skewers on the hot surface. Remember to rotate the skewer (it is best to grill the skewers over a hot grill, rather than in flames).
- Up to 10 minutes cooking time on a grill should be adequate, make sure there is a crispy light brown texture to the tofu.
- Proceed to serve hot, this dish pairs well with a Greek salad and a side of olives.