In light of world vegan month, this month, plant-based eaters from across the globe come together to celebrate their 100% cruelty-free lifestyle. Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all forms of cruelty to animals, from avoiding meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and honey, as well as products like leather, fur and beauty products against using animal testing. There are many different ways to embrace the vegan lifestyle, but the underlying “rule” is to eat a plant-based diet. We interviewed Cairo based, Victoria on her plant-based lifestyle and what she recommends to make the simple and easy switch.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you starting to become plant-based?
I studied nutrition 2 years ago. I’ve always been very health-conscious, I always thought I was being healthy, eating my eggs in the morning for protein, chicken breast and salad for lunch.“ A typical diet” then I started to dig deeper into nutrition, and that is how I started to learn about plant-based lifestyles. I tried it for a month, then I never went back to eating how I used to eat, my intention was purely for health reasons but you begin to learn about the effects it has on animal welfare and the environment. Hence, I became more conscious of that. I adopted a plant-based diet, my husband and kids have also turned to plant-based. Now we have a complete vegan household, even after my husband was a big meat eater, after giving him the knowledge he now feels healthier, happier and has lost weight, and he is my biggest supporter now.
What was your first step in promoting this lifestyle?
I started becoming a food blogger when I wanted to share information with people who are confused from all the misinformation out there. It can be very frustrating to go through different fad diets. I started posting pictures of my food, learning a bit of photography and I then started doing very easy, accessible recipes where my goal was to use only ingredients available in Cairo.
Tell us a little bit more about your plant-based business and how you got started?
I approached hotels and restaurants to offer vegan recipe options to their menus, unfortunately, it is not yet widely accepted only very few restaurants tried to do it like Frank & Co. in Maadi I then decided, to start my own Vegan business, which I launched two weeks ago. We currently only deliver in Maadi. My goal is not just to sell food, we’re a lifestyle brand, to provide people with the support to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. I want people to be more conscious about the food they eat. My goal is to offer support to people wanting to add more plants to their diets, so I do workshops and cooking classes as well.
What plant-based ingredients do you recommend to have as a staple at home for our readers?
Very simple ingredients are the core of a plant-based lifestyle. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, whole grains (brown rice, brown pasta) nuts and seeds for healthy fats. There is a Chinese market in Maadi where you can get tofu to replace meat in your recipes. Get creative with the recipes you don’t need a lot of ingredients.
What advice would you give to those thinking about transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle?
I started a “one plant-based meal a day” challenge on the first of November (which is Vegan month). My advice would be to start small, by just making one meal a day entirely plant-based, start with having a plant-based breakfast and then continue to lunch and dinner. But then again I have friends who switched to a fully plant-based lifestyle overnight and their doing fine so it really depends on you and if you are seeking a healthier eating plan in your life.
You recently posted about pasta do you get a lot of questions regarding pasta in plant-based eating?
Yes, I get a lot of people worried that pasta or carbs will make them gain weight, it shows me how much confusion there is amongst food, so there is a misunderstanding regarding carbohydrates. I am planning to do a course for one hour called “Plant-Based 101” for those who need further understanding of the food they consume. I like to give basic information about nutrition and food, I encourage people to eat more carbohydrates, but good wholefood carbohydrates, not doughnuts. People cut off carbs and wonder why they have no or very low energy, it is what gives us energy. I recommend whole wheat grains, and not refined or processed foods.
What are your favourite alternatives to meat and dairy?
Meat is not even a food category for me anymore! You can substitute minced meat with dehydrated soy, beans, broccoli, lentils, chickpeas and tofu, it’s easy to get your proteins from vegetables. I substitute cow milk with almond milk, that we make at home and we make big quantities because the ones at the supermarket are very expensive, cheeses we get for the kids are imported vegan cheese widely available now in supermarkets across Cairo.
Do you feel like the workshops on dairy-free living had a large turnout and will you be doing more workshops in the near future?
There is a lot of interest, it just needs to be more organised, people think making milk at home is too time-consuming but there are easy ways to make it, but people think it may be too challenging, I hope my workshops can help minimise the confusion for those wanting to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
What advice do you have for our readers who want to detox or healthier food swaps you can recommend?
The best detox is to remove animal foods, its highly inflammatory especially dairy. Incorporate more plants, I never encourage juice detox then go back to normal eating, it does not do you any good, switch to plants as often as possible. Give your body a break as much as possible that is the best detox you can do.
If you wish to learn more about Victoria and her inspiration behind her plant-based recipes visit her pages below.
Vegan Delivery: www.sincerelyv.com/menu