For purists, veganism is not a diet, nor a way of life. It is a philosophy that is based on the respect of the life of the animals, that is why they take out of their pantry all products of animal origin and fill them with vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, cereals and olive oil. The trend is such that, according to data collected by Deliveroo, the growth of orders for vegan food at home during the last year was 161%. That the vegan, vegetarian and veggie community in general increases by leaps and bounds is indisputable. We witnessed this in the last edition of the Hall of Gourmets, held in Madrid in May, in which we sampled Charcuterra sausages, made from nuts and cereals instead of meat, in addition to burgers with buckwheat and vegetables. We were even struck by the fabada of Camín Astur and the wines of the Francisco Gómez de Villena winery (Alicante), whose oenologist replaced the egg white, which is used to clarify, by vegetable gelatine.
In fact, one of the trends that will be on the table in 2019, according to the El Tenedor platform, will be "free of charge" offers. In other words, special menus for specific needs will occupy a prominent space in restaurants. Yes, the data serves us on a platter and the recent international study «New food trends worldwide», created by Ipsos Global Advisor, reveals that one in five Spaniards admit not to eat meat, a figure that also includes «Flexiterians» , that only consume it from time to time.
It also places Spain in 17th place in the world ranking of countries by number of citizens who do without it, headed by India, where two thirds of the population is limited not to eat it. It is followed by Peru, Turkey and Brazil. Within Europe, ahead of the Spanish, are the Germans, the French, the Swedes, the British, the Belgians, the Poles and the Italians. Another report, "The Green Revolution", brought to light by the consultancy Lantern, publishes that in our country there are 3.5 million vegetarians.
It is true that in any supermarket it is easy to find the products that all vegan craves. From vegetable drinks to vegetable yoghurts, to tofu, seitan, falafel, humus, croquettes or chocolate. It is no longer necessary to go in search of specialized establishments, but that these products bear the seal "vegan" does not mean that they are the best for health. Underlined by Gemma Miranda, for whom it is possible to follow a strict vegan diet: "Not everyone has the necessary information. The difference between the vegan and the vegetarian is that it consumes products of animal origin that has not been sacrificed. That is, he drinks cow's milk and eats eggs, since the animals do not die to facilitate the food, "says the nutritionist and dietitian of the Clinica Opción Médica.
He also explains that all vegans should take a vitamin B12 supplement, since it is only found in animals, to avoid anemia: "They are even aware that they may have a lack of calcium, present in dairy products and so necessary for Older people and women who want to get pregnant, "he continues. The debate? "These are food supplements that are ingested through dragees designed from experiments with animals and plastic waste. The controversy is not exempt, because if you take too many vitamins the body can not manage them and it is oxidized, "he says. In short, it is possible to take a vegan diet if you eat food, not food products. That said, remember that soy drink is not a food: "Until you transform the edamame into it, imagine the process behind it. So, when you ingest it, you drink a lot of estrogen. " Another inevitable problem is that by not taking animal proteins, "the body demands them, because the plant does not assimilate it so well the body. To move we use the muscles. Many of our biological processes work with proteins, which possess cereals and legumes, although they are lacking in any amino acid. " And he gives an example: "In some lentils with rice you do enjoy the complete protein. However, it is observed that the vegan is overweight due to the amount of food that it ingests to provide the body with that protein ».
Jùlia Török, chef of Levél Veggie Bistro, a reference restaurant for vegan and raw vegan cuisine -which does not exceed 41 degrees in its preparation- says that it was when she opened the restaurant that she switched from vegetarian to vegan food: digestion. Above all, dairy products did not sit well with me, "he says while explaining that those who stick to this type of diet discover numerous ingredients hitherto unknown. It refers to unusual nuts in salty dishes, such as pistachios. As for the process of preparing the recipes, the dehydration technique uses it to enhance and concentrate the flavors, in addition to obtaining surprising textures.
According to his experience, he finds the necessary calcium in hazelnuts, proteins, almonds and legumes. While iron-rich lentils and vegetables such as spinach and vitamin B12, "found in animal feed" take it as a supplement. If you book a table these days at home, try classic dishes such as your broccoli vegetable paté, mushroom skewers and fake rice sushi. The vegetable soup with tarragon and the grated potato mixed with flax flour are other dishes of his menu, which devour vegans and omnivores hungry for new bites.
David Román is the president of the International Vegetarian Union. "The vegetarian alternative" was the book that encouraged him to become vegan: "I started to feel more energy and I became less ill." On the little or nothing healthy that is the ultra processed products for vegans recognizes that there are also for those who follow a traditional diet. "We do not just eat low quality sausages because they are vegan. The proof of this is the number of healthy recipe blogs based on plant foods ». Today, his son is 18 years old, he has been vegan since he was very small and has had a normal physical and mental development: "We did not have the need to eat at school. The problem is that today there are centers that deny students a vegetarian and vegan menu. Families are told that they either carry a medical certificate or they do not provide this type of food. We are going to work so that this changes ».
Is it a healthier diet?
According to scientists at the University of Florence, the answer is yes. Although with nuances. The academics of this center in Italy compared the health of vegetarians and vegans with that of omnivores and concluded that plant-based feeding significantly protects against the incidence of heart disease and cancer.
In the case of the incidence of the latter, academics found a reduction of 15% with the vegan diet and one of 8% with the vegetarian diet. However, they found no difference in mortality rates. In this way, being vegetarian or vegan would be associated with "better health", but not necessarily having "a longer life expectancy". For them, it is more likely that vegans worry more about their health than the rest of the population, so it is possible that the differences in the indicators have nothing to do with the diet itself, but with other factors.