I would like to dispel a myth that is rampant among skeptics of veganism: that if you are vegan you have a very limited choice of food and can eat practically nothing! Not only that. The little that is available is bland and tasteless, and does not give you the energy you need during the day. I admit that for years this was also my prejudice. Yes, vegans have one thing in common: before they became vegans they were not! But in life you change, you become aware, and you share ideas that years before you would not have thought you could share. Someone smarter than me says that 'only stupid people never change their minds'.
The limited variety of foods in a vegan diet may be true if you merely eliminate all animal products from your previous diet. It is not true if, on the other hand, you approach veganism as an opportunity to enrich your culinary horizons, which you might not otherwise have expanded as much. Since I've been vegan, even more so than when I ate vegetarian, I've explored new tastes and products and expanded the menu at home by a lot. Doesn't this debunk the cliché that vegans only eat salad?
It was also due to the fact that I spent a long period in Asia between 2017 and 2018, where I tasted typical dishes far from Italian or European culture. From China to Indonesia you can discover new tastes, leaving out the use of animal products. There are so many dishes that contain tofu - a victim of fierce prejudice by 'normo-eaters' - which is cooked in a very tasty way and often with different textures. The vegetables are often different and are also cooked differently than in Europe. They also use a lot of spices in Asia, perhaps on average more than in the old continent, and these, as well as being healthy, help a lot to create a tasty dish in the absence of meat, fish and cheese. If you've been to Indonesia you've probably tried tempeh and liked it! Tempeh is a high-protein food obtained from the fermentation of soya. The taste of this food is distinct and strong and the flavour is vaguely reminiscent of a mix of mushrooms and nuts. The fermented soya bean sprouts are compacted into white buns that can be cut into slices and steamed, fried or grilled.
But you don't have to travel for long periods and do a lot of research to be contaminated by exotic culinary cultures. Even a short trip can give you new ideas, as long as you remain curious. In Morocco, where I spent two weeks at the end of 2019, I got to know a typical, good and healthy dish which is delicious in a vegan version. I'm talking about the tajine, an earthenware pot that gives the dish its name, in which vegetables, legumes and various aromas can be steamed in a tasty way. But as you know, nowadays you don't even have to leave the house to find new culinary inspiration. All you need today is an internet connection to enhance your cooking skills!
Eating has always been an important part of my day, I have always enjoyed food and becoming vegan has not taken this moment of joy and satisfaction away from me, but it has brought me to approach new recipes and also some more knowledge: I have informed myself about the properties of foods, the proteins that are healthiest for the body (those of vegetable origin), which foods contain which vitamins, minerals, types of fat. These were things that were unknown to me years ago and I didn't want to go into them because I took it for granted that I had a balanced diet.
After reading this article the skeptics may remain skeptical, but one thing is almost certain: these people will have to get used to it, because the future will be more and more vegan. So don't wait too long before accepting an invitation to dinner from a vegan friend!
Have you ever been to a vegan friend's dinner, what did you eat, were you disappointed or pleasantly surprised? Write it in the comments!