Do you also, in addition to eating only vegetable food, avoid milk, eggs and the like? Then you are more than vegetarian: you are vegan, or nearly so.
The vegan (when I heard for the first time this term, it gave me the idea of an extraterrestrial being, and to be extraterrestrial) is a person who, because of her or his own sensibility or for religious reasons, or for the benefit of her or his health, for choice or for taste, do not eat meat, fish and animal products, just as milk, cheese, eggs and the like.
To be vegan is discovering unknown things and opening up a world about responsible and healthy nutrition, about our food and about how it is produced, it is changing lifestyles and points of view. However, it is a gradual transition, which leads to a healthier nutrition and life style together.
Exploring the choice of food, to see which is suitable for a vegan diet and which is not, quite tricky issues are revealed. For example, the wine should be vegan, but not always it is so.
During a guided tour to a winery, they led us to the discovery of the vineyard and of the cellar, proudly describing the entire production cycle. Between one row and the other of vines there was no grass, because they had sprayed the herbicide and, apart from the dust raising, the herbicide had been also absorbed by the roots of the plants. The same vines were regularly sprayed with pesticides, which also reached the surrounding lands.
The owners were really convinced that everything was normal and natural, and that their product was truly genuine. During the visit to the cellar, they described how, in order to make the white wine more transparent, they added casein or albumin (animal products) as coagulants of the suspended matter, which in this way could settle and be properly separated. In addition to not being organic, this wine was not vegan.
The vegan nutrition choice offers benefits both personal and global.
The personal ones relate to the protection of our own health from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and from some forms of cancer.
The global ones concern the respect for the life and the dignity of non-human animals, the environmental protection, and the preservation of social and economic justice for the poorest countries of the world.
Animal farms create suffering to animals, contribute with their waste to the pollution of air, water and soil, take away cultivable land from the production of human food, converting them to the production of forage for animals, lessen water for drinking or agricultural consumption, diverting it to the production of forage for animals and to the farms themselves, force the majority of the world population to suffer from hunger and thirst.
Relatively few people on the planet eat too much and wrongly, causing suffering, pollution, malnutrition, disease, and social and economic injustice.
The vegan foods are good, nutritious, appetizing, equitable, sustainable, respectful of ecosystems and biodiversity, are healthy and make us happy.
There is something for everyone and for all budgets, for instance from the recipes written in the website Sostenibile.com in the appropriate section, to the simple vegan deli ‘O Grin (“The Green” in Neapolitan vernacular), or to Simone Salvini’s haute vegan cuisine.
Do you already feel your mouth water?
Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
Simone Salvini, Cucina vegana, Mondadori, 2012
Translation of the article: Paola Morgese “Essere vegani (e non saperlo)” published in the blog of Sostenibile.com