1st of October 2019 is the World Vegetarian Day. World Vegetarian Day initiates the month of October as Vegetarian Awareness Month, which ends with November 1, World Vegan Day, as the end of that month of celebration
What are the main differences between vegan and vegetarian?
Vegans eat no animal products, while vegetarians don’t eat animals, but may eat products that come from them (such as dairy and eggs). People typically choose these diets because of health concerns, religious restrictions or moral concerns about harming animals.
Lacto-ovo (or ovo-lacto), from the Latin words for milk and egg, is the most common type of vegetarian. As the name suggests, people who follow this diet eat dairy products and eggs but avoid meat, poultry and seafood.
Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products but no eggs, meat, poultry or seafood.
Ovo vegetarians eat eggs but no dairy products, meat, poultry or seafood.
Pesco vegetarians, or pescatarians, don’t technically meet the common definition of vegetarian. People who follow this semi-vegetarian diet eat fish and other seafood but no poultry or meat.
To be or not to be…vegan
There is a lot of talk about veganism right now, and yes, there are a lot of reasons to become vegan:
Ethical – not harming innocent animals
Environmental – much better for the environment
And last but not least: health – even media Moghul Simon Cowell has gone vegan and is gushing about how well he feels on a vegan diet!
So, what’s all this hype about? And why become vegan?
Personally, I don’t believe in preaching a certain lifestyle or diet. I believe we all have a right to choose. There are times when we don’t have a choice, like we don’t have a choice about what religion we were born into, but food is different. In the West we have an enormous selection of food, so why can’t we choose what’s right for us?
You have no doubt come across friends who decided to become vegetarian or vegan because “they should”, only to revert to their old diet a few weeks later because it was too difficult or they didn’t know what to cook.
Only do it if you truly honestly want to become vegan, then you will stick to it.
My own journey to becoming vegan has been slow and not actually something I was considering. I became vegetarian when I was 18 and never looked back, but I didn’t ever plan to go as far as becoming vegan: “too complicated”, “too extreme”, “too antisocial” I used to think. Various things conspired to push me in that direction: first my son became dairy intolerant at age 5, so I stopped buying milk and cheese, eventually realising that I am also dairy intolerant, and gradually dropping eggs as well.
But then, who is to say you can’t be vegan sometimes - just because you can? That’s a start, if you don’t want to go all the way. Try and see how you feel. You might even like it! And it really isn’t that complicated, I promise! Some people are vegan a few days a week, or even one day a week to begin with. One step at a time!
Here is a simple spicy Lentil Vegan Curry to warm you on a cold and rainy October evening. You can have it as a main meal with rice and poppadum, or as a side dish.
200 gr split red lentils
500 ml water
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 handfuls baby spinach
I have adapted this recipe from an old Indian cookery book my mother had.
Its my version of an Indian dahl, and one of my favourite staple dishes.
Rinse lentils and put them in a large pan with 500 ml boiling water.
Bring to a simmer and remove the lid (otherwise your dahl will boil over and be EVERYWHERE!).
Turn heat down to low and add turmeric.
Simmer gently until the lentils are cooked and most of the water is gone, around 15 min.
Heat the olive oil in a small pan until hot. You can test whether the oil is hot by dropping a couple of cumin seeds into the oil – if they sizzle its hot!
When the oil is hot take the pan off the heat and put in the cumin seeds, let them sizzle for a few seconds.
Next put in the coriander (and cayenne).
Mix quickly and pour the content into the pot of lentils, stir to mix.
Roughly chop the spinach and mix it into the dahl, after a few minutes the spinach will wilt.
Add salt to taste.
Serve with brown rice, poppadums and steamed broccoli.
Enjoy your Vegan Curry!
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Yamini Baars, massage therapist, mother of 2, and passionate about healthy conscious eating
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