As you may already know, November is officially World Vegan Month. This global event was first established in 1994, in celebration of the progression of the concept and lifestyle. And today the vegan ideology is thriving, with approximately 79 million vegans in the world in 2021. In fact, they currently make up around 8% of the world’s population. But why is veganism growing in popularity – and the all-important question; why go vegan?
People usually choose to follow a plant-based diet for a variety of different reasons. These can include:
- Dietary reasons: For improved health, wellness and nutrition
- Ethical reasons: Because they are against any unnecessary violence, cruelty or exploitation of animals
- Environmental reasons: To reduce their own personal carbon footprint and impact on the environment
Consider the fact that some 70 billion farm animals are reared for food production each year. By following a vegan diet you’d be saving around 30 of those animal’s lives each month. And veganism also saves human lives. In fact, it has been estimated that plant-based diets will save around eight million human lives by 2050.
That’s because plant-based diets can reduce our risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. It also cuts the amount of bad cholesterol from your diet, reducing your risk of obesity and heart disease. World Vegan Month helps to raise awareness that eating an animal-free diet is healthier for the body and better for the planet.
And today there are so many plant-based alternative to our favourite meat products, many of which are available at Prinos Farm Deli. Vegans can find plant-based burgers, mince, sausages and more. But there are also so many delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes using fresh plant-based ingredients. Such as fresh vegetables and legumes. Which are the main ingredients of our latest Prinos Recipe, where Chef Panos cooks up a mouth-wateringly comforting vegan stew, packed full of nutritious vegetables, chickpeas and fragrant herbs and spices.
Chickpeas are nutritional powerhouses containing a range of diverse nutrients, including protein, fibre, vitamins, iron, potassium and calcium. Protein is essential for healthy bones, muscles, and skin. Meanwhile, fibre helps to reduce inflammation and glucose in the body. Calcium helps to contribute to healthy bones, while iron is essential for growth and development.
How to start eating a more plant-based diet
Whether you are ready to take the plunge into full on veganism, or just want to take a small step towards a more plant-based diet, here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Start using plant-based alternatives to your favourite dairy products. (such as soya milk, coconut yogurt or vegan butter).
- Set a goal of not eating meat for a month. Once the month is up, see how you feel. Perhaps you’ll be convinced to give it up for good. Or maybe you’ll settle with reducing your weekly meat intake and opting for more plant-based meal options.
- Check the labels on your bathroom products and soaps or makeup and remove anything tested on animals. Replace these products with more ethical options.
- Stay informed about your new dietary needs. Switching to a vegan diet requires some understanding of nutrition. You will need to make sure you are substituting meat with ingredients that provide enough protein, iron and B Vitamins. Don’t forget to include beans, legumes and nuts and seeds into your diet.
Another great way to eat a more vegan diet is just by experimenting with plant-based recipes to see how interesting, delicious and diverse they can be. Like our Prinos vegan stew, made by Chef Panos with love. This delicious recipe is hearty and comforting – perfect for a chilly winter’s evening. And it’s packed full of fresh, seasonal vegetables and nutritious chickpeas. Enjoy!
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- Half leek we will use only the white part
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- ½ a fennel bulb, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, cut into ½-inch slices
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1½ tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- Two 1-inch pieces cinnamon stick
- 8 cups Vegetable Stock, or low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into cubes
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 3 ripe tomatoes grated
- 2 cups boiled chickpeas
- 2 large pinches saffron, soaked for 15 minutes in ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Finely chopped coriander and parsley
- Peel and chop the onion, carrots, leek and celery, then place in a large pot with olive oil and sauté for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon sticks and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, squash, potato, fennel, tomatoes, and chickpeas and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
- Add the mint and the saffron with its soaking water and season the stew with salt and pepper, before cooking for 10 more minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Serve garnished with the cilantro and parsley
PRinOs Tip: The juice and rind of citrus fruits (such as lime, lemon and bergamot) are always a cool additional ingredient to really bring out the flavour in these rich vegetable dishes.
And if you like this dish, you’ll love some of our other plant-based Prinos Farm&Deli recipes. Such as our mouth-wateringly comforting Greek style cooked peas or ‘Arakas Laderos, as they are also known. Thinking of going vegan yourself? Learn more in our 7 Reasons to Adopt a More Plant Based Diet blog.
And don’t forget, we have a huge range of awesome vegan, plant-based foods and products in our stores in Larnaca and Nicosia, as well as on our e-shop. So come and have a browse and see how eating a more plant-based diet can benefit you.