Friday, January 31, 2014

Israel Goes Vegan!

Israel - the First Vegan Nation?
Israeli Chef and food writer Ori Shavit made the switch from meat eater to vegan a few years ago. Since then, she has become the face of the vegan revolution in Israel, running a popular vegan website Vegans on Top, making media appearances, and publishing articles on the subject. The growing dietary trend in Israel is driven by concerns about health, the environment, and animal welfare.

"If you have been told all your life that you have to eat three dairy products per day, and then you see an exposé about what’s really going on in the dairy industry – or in slaughterhouses or the egg industry — you will realize the lies you’ve been told about your health and animal treatment. Then you can make a real choice.," Shavit says.

Israel is leading the vegan revolution around the world, with vegan restaurants popping up all over the country, taking veganism from a small movement for hippies into a mainstream cultural shift.

By comparison, approximately 3.2% Americans don't eat meat vs. 13% of Israelis. An additional 13% of Israelis are considering going vegan or vegetarian.

Shavit often gets requests from restaurants to help them develop animal-free menu options.

“Restaurants are putting vegan dishes on the menu and marking those dishes so they are easy to find, so as a customer I will feel welcomed and normal. What is going on here is really remarkable. I don’t think this took hold so quickly and intensely in any other place in the world,” Shavit observed.

One of several options is Legume Salad — bulgur, lentils, quinoa and baked sweet potato cubes with cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, parsley and mint, seasoned with olive oil, lemon and date syrup and served with bread and tahini.

Shavit offers an English-language restaurant guide on where to find such dishes because “Israel today is a destination for vegan tourists,” she says. “The next thing should be promoting veganism in hotel chains, and I am working on this.”

While Israelis lag behind the rest of the world in meat substitutes, vegan tahini, hummus, and falafel are staples in Israeli cuisine.

Read more about it here.

Off for a yummy vegan meal, till next time!


P.S. Ori Shavit at TEDxHiriya (in English)

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