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“Let’s Veggie Up!”

It’s the age of food trends.

We could easily say that a new food trend emerges every day when we wake up.

For some people, it’s about exploring fun and innovative approaches. But for others, it’s about broadening the idea of wellness and trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Image: Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

For the latter group, vegetarianism and veganism are two very popular options to adopt.

Most Maldivians probably don’t know anyone in their circle of friends or family who are practicing such a lifestyle. Subconsciously, you may hear yourself asking, “but how do you not eat tuna??” Well, you just don’t.

Vegetarianism has been around for longer than recorded history according to anthropologists, with some tracing the roots all the way back to the Greeks and ancient India within Hindu sects. There is a strong belief among scholars that early humans practiced gathering more than hunting, relying on a plant based life for sustenance.

Medical research has also shown indications of the human digestive system resembling that of a plant eater, which is why we contract diseases and conditions from eating excessive red meat.

This practice did not start off as a popular choice, mainly because people were bothered by what they felt like was unnecessary planning and preparation needed for each meal. While this is still the case for some people who are unable to source alternate ingredients and fresh produce in their communities, the modern day vegetarians are using online tools to make this lifestyle more accessible to people.

Elsa Bullen, an Australian dietitian and nutrition has established herself as a credible voice in the Instagram world of travel and lifestyle. With a firm goal to share her philosophy on eating more plants, Elsa has recently published her book with over 100 vegan recipes. While she is a vegan herself, she is not into labeling people. Elsa has a very simple goal and that is to convince more people to incorporate more plant based food into their daily life, whether it be once a week or as a major lifestyle change.

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Image: NDTV Doctor

Heidi Swanson, a California based photographer and author, is behind the blog 101 Cookbooks and has been blogging since 2003. Currently a New York Times bestselling author, Heidi constantly works on developing new recipes and sharing them with her readers. Focused on  a wholegrain vegetarian diet, her website has now won numerous awards with her posts being published on major publications.

From a chef’s perspective, you may think that they will be faced with numerous challenges with this. However, in this day and age when all the big names are preaching local and sustainable ways of eating, exploring vegetarian and even vegan options put them out on the map and they are presented with the opportunity to be innovative.

Changing the thought of haute cuisine catering only to omnivores, Michelin star restaurants have evolved to offer gourmet vegetarian menus. L’Arpège is simply put, one of the holy temples of French gastronomy. In 2001, Michelin star chef Alain Passard took a new approach with a signature vegetarian tasting menu at this restaurant. Gardens in different areas of France supply over 500 types of fruits and veggies to Passard’s kitchen.

“To cook produce born out of the expertise of our gardeners is something that undoubtedly makes creativity easier,” he says. “It’s a great source of inspiration.”

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Image: eatwell101.com

Rather than seeing vegetarian and vegan diets as lacking, we should open up our minds to the nutritional value and ethical approach behind such lifestyles. It’s not about bidding farewell to your tuna, chicken and beef. It’s all about investing in a healthier lifestyle by incorporating such practices into your routine.

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