Articles, Vegan, vegetarian

Vegetarian/vegan, what is the difference?

Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Budapest… European capitals are getting filled with vegetarian and vegan restaurants that offer veggie burgers, soy meat and cheese analogues. All these products are usually noticeable thanks to this emblematic green leaf that the vegetarians and vegans’ eyes are well trained to spot.

But what does all this mean exactly? Unless you are familiar with the topic, it is very probable that you get lost in all these concepts. Healthy lifestyle, organic, vegetarian, vegan, fair trade, gluten-free… same stuff!? Not really.

Here is a short guide that will help you to distinguish vegetarian and vegan diets among these current trends.

First distinction

Let’s first highlight the difference between plant-based, animal and meat products. This is the key to differentiate vegetarian and vegan diets. It is actually pretty simple, you will see…

– Meat products: Animal flesh, but also fat, blood… basically any edible part on an animal body. That includes fish, seafood and insects. Let’s not forget animal gelatin, gravy, broth and other meat stocks.
– Animal products: This includes meat products, but also other products from animal origin. That means milk-based (dairy) products, eggs, but also leather, wool, honey…
– Plant-based products: Anything that is not animal or derived from animals. This includes yeast and other mushrooms, algae, carrots, and so on :).

Vegetarianism

A vegetarian does not eat anything that contains meat. However, they still eat other animal products like milk or eggs. No juicy steak and no roasted chicken wings, but why not a nice four cheese pizza or a mushroom omelet?

A vegetarian can decide to reduce their consumption of other animal products, for the same (or different) reasons they stopped eating meat. They can also decide to stop completely eating some kind of products. Here are some subcategories:

Lacto-vegetarian: A vegetarian who decides to stop eating eggs
Ovo-vegetarian: A vegetarian who chooses to cut completely any milk-based products

Why being a vegetarian? This comes from a personal choice and can either answer an environmental concern (see our last article that compares carbon footprints of different diets), can be the expression of strong ethical values (opposition to industrial breeding, acting in favour of animal well-being, disgust towards eating animal flesh…), health reasons… and so on.

Veganism

A vegan does not eat or buy ANY animal product. No meat, but also no cheese, eggs, or even wool, leather or honey. In a vegan’s plate you can find a lentil curry, a bean-based burger, or a soy meat bolognese.

Why being vegan? Same reasons than above, with stronger commitments and for stronger impacts. Veganism can also be linked with a bigger idea, which is antispeciecism (opposition to the hierarchy between humans and other animal species, that implies animal exploitation and suffering)

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Of course, the reality is not so rigid! Very often, individuals have to negotiate between their personal values, opportunities, social context and possibilities. Some vegetarians eat animal gelatin or seafood, others will not mind eating animal products that are sustainably produced.

Have a vegetarian/vegan friend?

Don’t panic! You can still enjoy good food together. Here are some basic ideas to remember…

  • “Vegetarian” or “vegan” doesn’t mean “eating nothing”, nor necessarily “eating healthy”!
    If you have a vegetarian friend you want to invite for dinner, just cook something without animal flesh. If your friend is vegan, cook only plant-based products. It does not mean that you should serve one poor salad leaf with a few seeds!
  • Food can be big, fat, regressive, AND vegan.
    French fries are vegan if they are cooked with plant oil. Same for hummus that is currently the new king of aperitif, or baked beans if you are into traditional British breakfast. Let’s not forget couscous, pasta, potato salad, curry, and so on.
  • There is plenty of vegetarian and vegan YUMMY dishes
    You can have a look at the very easy recipes we already posted on this blog for some inspiration.
    More and more restaurants are also vegetarian/vegan-friendly! You can have a look at the website and app “Happy cow”, that identifies vegetarian and vegan restaurants all around the world.
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Recipes from YEE office, Vegan, vegetarian

Spring brunch

Spring is there, time to play with colours and flavours! It is also the season of asparagus, these vegetables that look a bit alien and that we always wonder how to cook. Don’t worry, it is really easy, tasty, and a perfect ingredient for a nice sunday brunch!

Eat it with some (toasted) bread, a nice coffee or earl grey, and some jazz music in the background.

Continue reading “Spring brunch”

Uncategorized

And you, how much carbon do you “eat”?

Food production is a major pollutant for our planet: soil impoverishment, desertification, deforestation… It is also a big source of greenhouse gases (GHG). Today, agricultural sector is the second largest emitter of the world, after the energy sector.[1]

Changing our consumption is a way to act pragmatically against climate change, and turning to vegetarian and vegan diets can help us to reduce our personal carbon footprint. We hear a lot about carbon footprint. But what does it actually mean, especially when it comes to food?

Continue reading “And you, how much carbon do you “eat”?”

Recipes from YEE office, Vegan, vegetarian

Vegan Flammenküche

Here is a recipe that comes all the way from Alsace, a French region located next to the German border. This region has a peculiar history, for it has always been in-between two countries, Germany and France. In this way, Alsatians have developed a culture of their own, at the crossroads between two traditions, languages and societies.

This also applies to the cuisine. The Flammenküche is of course not only cooked in Alsace, but for me it is the best (and tastier) symbol of Alsatian culture. Translated literally, Flammenküche means “pie baked in flames”. This pie should be very thin, covered with a sour cream base, a lot of onions and smoked bacon. However, it is very easy to make a vegan version of it! You just need soy cream and smoked tofu.

Continue reading “Vegan Flammenküche”

Articles

New focus for Office Cuisine!

Have you ever heard about the proverb “tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are”? Diets and culinary habits have a lot to say about individuals – and even entire societies! – and they are generally employed as sociological, anthropological and economic indicators capable of revealing the “spirit of the times” (zeitgeist).

Our dear modern times do not represent an exception.
In Western societies, the number of vegans and vegetarians has been drastically increasing in recent years (+500% vegans since 2014 in the U.S.(1), +360% vegans in the last 10 years in Britain(2), +987% increase of worldwide demand for vegetarian options in 2017(3)) to the point that they represent the main dietary mega trends of the 21st century. Continue reading “New focus for Office Cuisine!”

Recipes from YEE office, vegetarian

Gozinaki

Do you like travelling? This recipe will take you all the way to Georgia! Our Member Organisations Officer, Ketevan Kochladze, invites us to her table and tells us more about the traditional Georgian dish she likes the most: Gozinaki.

The Georgian Traditional Supra represents an excellent place not only to enjoy local traditional cuisine, but also a traditional place for us, for philosophical toasts, for breaking ice and socialising…

In Georgia everything is decided near the table, we call it a Supra (Georgian: სუფრა [supʰra]). It is a traditional Georgian feast and an important part of Georgian social culture. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to one you’ll want to know how to eat like a Georgian, meanwhile you are looking for cheap tickets and checking  connections  I will try virtually to invite you with me to sit near the virtual Supra.

Continue reading “Gozinaki”

Recipes from YEE office

Tagliatelle with potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes

Italy is the realm of carbohydrates: don`t be surprised to see pasta combined with potatoes! Additionally, when your tagliatelle are over and there is some sauce left on your plate, don`t forget to do scarpetta (literally little shoe: it is the procedure of “cleaning” the dish with a piece of bread. A ritual in every Italian family). And if, after your meal, you are still not satisfied, a slice of pizza always represents a good solution. Carbohydrates party! Continue reading “Tagliatelle with potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes”