Everything you need to know about vegetarianism

Whether you are a vegetarian or not, it is likely that at some point, you have found yourself in a society where opinions diverge on vegetarianism and - much more - veganism.  Especially if the conversation took place on a table where meat was starring, controversy is almost sure. On the occasion of World Vegetarian Day, which is celebrated every year since 1978, on October 1st, the yellow blog dares to enter the discussion. Not to consult you about your eating habits, but to solve all your questions according to the vegetarian diet, so that you are informed about the food that you are eating! And, of course, we have vegetarian recipes to do a tasting!

The truth is that vegetarianism holds fans since antiquity, with more famous the Pythagoreans. On the other hand, the modern vegetarians give moral tone to their beliefs using the famous saying of the classic author George Bernard Shaw, "animals are my friends, and I do not eat my friends". From Ellen DeGeneres, Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth (yes, Thorgan is vegan!), to Sir Paul McCartney and Bill Clinton, more and more celebrities and global personalities are adopting a vegetarian or even vegan diet. A fact that makes many omnivores questioning whether vegetarianism is a fashion or not!

But what does it really mean to be a vegetarian?

It means you don't eat meat. The "classic" vegetarian diet excludes red meat, poultry (don't ask a vegetarian if he eats chicken unless you think chickens are grown on a farm), fish, mollusks, and shellfish. With this as a general definition, there are the following categories of vegetarians:

Lacto-Ovo vegetarians: They eat eggs and dairy products

Lacto vegetarians: They eat dairy products

Ovo vegetarians: They eat eggs

Pescatarians: They eat fish

Vegans: They do not eat anything of animal origin. That means that except meat, they also excluded from their diet dairy products, eggs, honey, and gelatin.

Isn't it harmful to your health to exclude meat entirely from your diet?

If you follow a balanced, well-regulated diet, no. The vegetarian diet is recognized as quite a fool, and even international organizations conclude that it can help prevent serious diseases, but only when it is complete and balanced. Think of that; if you cut meat completely and eat only cheese pizza and french fries, you are a vegetarian, aren't you? But will you be healthy?

Where can I get Protein and Ferrum, if I don't eat anything of animal origin?

Dairy and eggs give you the Protein that you need if you are a vegetarian. If you are vegan, a diet rich in legumes and whole grains cereals will cover you up. Ferrum is also contained in legumes and dark green vegetables, you just have to keep in mind that more effective iron absorption occurs when combined with vitamin C (put lemon in your spinach!).

What about vitamin B12? Doesn't it have only animal origins?

Dairy products and eggs will cover your needs. For the vegan diet, there are fortified breakfast cereals (you'll be surprised if you have a look at the ingredients), fortified beverages such as soy milk, and nutritional yeast, which call it "vegans' parmesan."

Is it possible for me to suffer from osteoporosis due to lack of calcium if I become vegan?

Researches have shown that vegans have a harder time meeting their calcium needs than a meat-eating diet. However, very rich in calcium are Chinese cabbage, broccoli, legumes, almonds, tahini. It would be a good idea to include a vegan diet in foods fortified with calcium and vitamins D and K, such as breakfast cereals and soy or almond milk.

What will happen to me if you do not become a vegetarian?

It depends. In both cases, there is a need for a balanced diet. You can follow a Mediterranean diet that doesn't include a lot of meat, eat only good fats, vegetables, fruits, and fiber, and be healthier than the vegetarian we mentioned above (the ones who eat only french fries & cheese pizza).What will happen to me if you do not become a vegetarian?

Can a vegetarian diet protect me against serious diseases?

Survey data indicate that vegetarians tend to have a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, because of their more conscious choices about their diet. However, a vegetarian is more likely to follow a healthier lifestyle as a whole (he does not smoke, he does more exercise), so it isn't easy to separate the benefits from his diet.

Can a child grow up strictly vegetarian?

Yes, it can. Even with a vegan diet, if it is well-regulated (preferably under the guidance of a pediatrician and nutritionist, as protein and calcium needs are increased for children), a child will grow and develop properly. Many parents who choose a vegetarian or even vegan diet for their family, believe that it is effortless for a child to enter the vegan philosophy. For children, the love for animals comes naturally…

Why do vegans look at me with half an eye when I eat my souvlaki?

Because they are upset about the animal that ended up cooked and wrapped in your pita. Often, omnivores observe that vegans criticize them about their meat-eating choices. This wide range of views is because veganism is not just a dietary choice for better overall health; it's an ideologically colored decision, combined with a different way of life. Vegans do not consume anything animal originated (even honey is considered a product of theft, while for dairy and eggs they point out that they are also produced in barbaric conditions for animals), do not wear leather or wool, nor use cosmetics tested on animals. So, the fact that their decision is so emotionally charged and affects their lives explains their tendency to talk about it and take for granted the moral correctness of their choice.

But can anyone live without spaghetti bolognese, burgers or chocolate?

Yes, if he wants to! Because there are incredible recipes for vegetarian spaghetti bolognese, vegetarian burger, and even vegan chocolate mousse - and they're so delicious that you'll cook them over and over again, even if you don't become a vegetarian!

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

What you need
30g dried porcini mushrooms
350ml of water (room temperature)
3 carrots grated on a coarse grater
1 chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper
1 clove garlic
Thyme & oregano
Freshly ground pepper
200g fresh chopped mushrooms
2tbsp. tomato paste
120ml red wine
500g spaghetti
Parmesan or pecorino cheese
Olive oil

How to cook it?
Put the dried mushrooms in hot water and let them soften until you chop your vegetables. Heat over medium heat, in a deep-frying pan, some olive oil. Once warmed, add the chopped vegetables (except mushrooms), salt and spice up, and cook until dry. Drain the porcini (you have to keep the water!) and put them in the pan along with the fresh mushrooms and tomato paste. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring to dissolve the pulp. Add the wine and the liquid from the porcini. Let it cook until the sauce sets, and the juices are reduced, about half. Prepare the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package, boiling it for about 1-2 minutes less. Keep some of the spaghetti boiling water, strain it and throw it straight into the pan where the sauce is boiling. If necessary, add a little of the boiling water, stir to go all over the sauce and serve with grated parmesan or pecorino (if you are vegan, skip the cheese!).

Veggie Burger

What you need
1 clove of garlic
250g white mushrooms
Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup lentils (boiled and drained)
¾ cup of bread (preferably wholemeal crumbs)
1 large egg
1 tbsp. see salt
Some flour or corn flour
Some goat cheese or mayonnaise or yogurt flavored with mint
6 burger buns
2 tomatoes

How to cook it?
Finely chop the mushrooms along with the garlic and the thyme (if using fresh). Saute the onion over low heat with a little olive oil, caramelize, add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes to remove the excess liquid. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Mix it with the lentils and add the egg, the bread and the salt. Shape your mixture, divide it into 6, and make 6 burgers. Lightly flour them. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and bake your burgers on both sides until golden (about 3 minutes on each side). Make the burgers with the rolled bread, adding tomato slices, basil, and the cheese/ mayonnaise/ yogurt you prefer.

Vegan Chocolate Mouse

What you need
1 large ripe avocado
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 a cup of coconut or almond milk
2 tbsp. stevia (or other natural sweetener)
1 tsp. vanilla extrac

How to cook it?
Melt the avocado with a fork or with the puree tool. Melt the cocoa in the milk and add it to the avocado. Continue with the stevia and the vanilla. You can add whatever you want for more interesting taste: roasted almonds, hazelnuts, and even frozen forest fruits. Mix well, serve in a bowl and freeze…