Saturday, 19 October 2013

Vegan? Ok. But what do you eat?

In Austrian restaurants you will find close to no vegan dishes on the menu.
Milk, eggs, meat, fish cheese, cream, butter - that's how Austrian chefs cook.

Pictured you see my grocery buys from today. There is A LOT to eat as you can tell.

I enjoy eating healthy foods. I don't mind indcluding certain products for healthy iron, calcium, and protein levels. 

Chickpeas, nuts, parsley, sesame + lemon juice provide iron (Vitamine C augments the iron intake in your body), Broccoli for calcium and probably other good things, Bananas for all kinds of healthy nutritions, Seitan (bag in front) for protein,  Dijon mustard for the best home made dressing and many more good things.
And then there are those 3 magic jars: three types of nut-purees Almond, cashew and - well - the third one isn't exactly a puree - coconut oil. Almond puree is made of white almonds (peeled) and it substitutes any cream or milk for all kinds of recipes. Pumpkin soup, a creamy tomato sugo for pasta or even carbonara sauce ... anything goes. The almond puree is rich on protein and fat and it's of course the fat that enhances the flavours in your dish. Coconut oil provides saturated fat which is also essential. And it makes the perfect duo with orange jam on my toast in the morning.

You may say "Oh, you have to take care are lot and this seems to be complicated".

First, I don't mind.

Second, I would not bet on your (=the non-vegan) blood count to be healthier per se.
Did you know that milk decreases the intake of iron?  Which means you can eat a lot of red meat for your iron intake. But as soon as you follow the meat-dish by a cafe latte or even worse - serve the meat in a sauce made of dairy products, my lentil soup, served with lemon juice plus the chickpea-parsley salad offers a higher iron intake than your meat dish does.

I don't say that the vegan diet is the healthiest diet on this world. I guess the vegetarian diet is healthier. But the place where I live -  a city with 1,7 inhabitants - leaves me with no other choice since there are no cows, hens and fishponds around the corner and I depend on the products on the shelves in supermarkets. Supermarkets equal food industry and industry equals animal harm. Simple as that.

Oh yes, and you might want to know that there are products/ingredients I will not buy for environmental reasons: palm oil and vegetables/fruits that where shipped by air cargo.

How can you tell if someone is vegan?
Don't worry. He/she will tell you. 


xo Paula

PS: In the subject I wrote "But what do you eat?" Usually I get asked "But what can you eat?". I can eat everything. But I choose not to. I make other choices.


  1. Wow, congrats on going vegan! I've been toying with the idea for quite some time, but for now I'm content on finding ecological and ethical vegetarian options for my daily diet.

  2. Hello Ana! So nice to read from you.
    Did you have a nice harvest in the garden this year? Some crops seem to have turned out really nice this year. And those fresh nuts are so good! :-)

  3. Welcome back Paula. I left a longer comment on your first post but Blogger ate it and I didn't feel like re-typing it. I admire your decision to become a vegan and look forward to more posts on what you are cooking. Are you getting about 46 protein grams per day? I found it difficult to eat 46 protein grams without eating more carbs than I could efficiently process.

    1. Dear Susan! Thank you - for keeping an eye on me AND for re-sending a comment. "Lost" comments are so annoying!

      Let me write down an average day like today. Since I ride my bycicle, I can use those extra carbs. :-)

      I start with cashewpuree (a bit more liquid than peanut butter) as spread on my bread. I eat 2 slices, ca 8 gram protein. I drink tea with almond milk, ca. 5gr, makes 13 gram from breakfast. I drink homemade almond milk, it contains about 5 times more almonds compared to store-bought almond milk.

      During the day (lunch and dinner) I eat rice and vegetables (a few grams), chickpeas (hummus, about 8gr!!!), soy (organic, not GMO, the seeds grow in Austria and the plant grows in Austria, where GMO soy is forbidden).

      I eat nuts, use almond puree (quite liquid) for sauces (5-10gram, depends on the recipe), I roast the grinded almonds which are leftovers from the almond milk i a pan and sprinkle them on top of the broccoli.

      Somedays I eat Tofu, as a second breakfast I eat a bowl of millet with fruits or popped amaranth (2gr protein here) 5gr protein here and so on ...

      I am sure I forgot a lot of protein I am not aware of. I also like seitan and texturized soy, but not on a daily basis.

      During the summer months I loved to eat/drink shakes with soy yoghurt and oats plus fruit juice and fruits.

      This summer I could see how my body holds up, given the new circumstances and new protein sources: I hiked a lot, I ran a lot and I cycles and swam an awful lot. :-) This was need muscles to exercise and muscles depend on protein ... it was no problem at all. I never experienced any weakness.

      My muscles grew over summer, my thighs are stronger than ever, so I must get the protein right. But as I've mentioned in the beginning - I don't care at all if there are carbs on my plate or not. Carbs are absolutely ok for me.
      Maybe Austrians (and Germans and Swiss and Czech) have a different approach to "bad" food. Sugar: yes. High fructose syrup: definitely! Carbs per se: why?

      This winter I am going to re-check my blood levels after 12 months. You can bet I am curious ... and I will tell you about it.

      I am looking forward to post some recipes including photos. I think I will start with a zero-waste almond milk :-)

      When I went vegan I expected to get some cravings for meat. I made a kind of "contract" with myself and swore that the day I wake up with meat cravings, I will not hesitate and eat a plate of raw minced beef, because I would need it. Or a steak. (raw minced beef is a traditional dish in Austria - called Beef Tartar). Only: those cravings never came. Not yet. With cheese it's another thing. I would find it very, very, very hard to push away the cheese cart in a french country-restaurant. Janet (the gardeners cottages) knows what I am talking about. She did not regret a single piece of cheese she ate while visiting France.
      I have fond memories of me fighting like a lion for the grocery bag full of cheese I carried in my handluggage on my way back from Lyon to Vienna. At the Airport the staff did everything to convince me, that this cheese is liquid and larger than 100ml per item and would have to throw it in the huge bin. I had deliberatly left the Saint Nectaire on the shelf and had bought Beaufort, Cantal and Salers, because St Nectaire IS kind of liquid). But that's another story. ;-) 3 hours later I stored those "babies" in the fridge in the centre of Vienna. Ah, cheese.
      I guess I am lucky to live in a country where cheese tastes nothing like those french cheeses but looks and tastes like pale yellow blocks made of plastic.


      PS: please, excuse my typos. I need to get used to writing english, my fingers still follow the german words on the keyboard. I can not easily edit the comment. I would have to delete and repost it which I did 3 times by now. ;-))

  4. It sounds like you are processing carbs well. I used to be able to eat more of them, but not since menopause. I work out regularly, but probably don't exercise as much as you do, so that could be part of it. Thank you for sharing the details :). xoxo

    1. Not to forget the exercise of whiping the kitchen floor late night, after a brownie-baking-session, reaching out for all those sticky crumbs in the hidden corners, crawling on all fours. I might want to stick to this routine during menopause.

  5. Hi Paula, your cheese story is so funny for the French woman I am !! I am myself vegetarian, living in Vienna and supporting Bea zero waste lifestyle...maybe we can share more on vegan in Wien...

    1. Hello Anonymous!
      I admit: I would give in to a vegetarian diet the very next moment I enter french territory, to enjoy artisan cheese.