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Vege foods in Lithuania

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Materiały Prasowe,
30.01.2024 18:58

January is known for its vegan trend, or Veganuary, when people do not eat meat and animal products during this month. The organizers of Veganuary claim that it helps to save water and forests as well as decrease carbon emissions. Is Veganuary popular in Lithuania and what are its benefits? Austeja Vakarinaite, head of the Nori Gali initiative, has shared her thoughts on Veganuary on DELFI TV’s show DELFI Diena.

Three years in Lithuania already

According to Vakarinaite, in Lithuania Veganuary is also called the Plant Discovery Programme.

"It is a 22-day-long Nori Gali Plant Discovery Programme, which is part of the global Veganuary initiative. Veganuary has gained some momentum, experience, and a huge audience," she said.

Vakarinaite noted that his year Veganuary would celebrate its 10th anniversary.

"We have been organizing our programme for three consecutive years via the official website. By registering there, you immediately become a participant in the 22-day-long challenge and receive daily newsletters with various practical advice and tasty vegan recipes," she explained.

It is also possible to find like-minded people and the initiative-related advice.

"What is more, our participants are added to the active and bustling <em>Facebook</em> group. It already has nearly 5,000 members, who share questions and advice alike. Actually, the spectrum of topics discussed in our <em>Facebook</em> group is very broad. On the one hand, we take into consideration thematic newsletters and encourage the participants to share their experience, impressions, or questions regarding certain topics," she added.

Sure, some pieces of advice may come as a surprise to many.

"For example, today I sent a newsletter about egg substitutes. A lot of people see eggs as traditional, irreplaceable animal products, but it is really easy to substitute them with plant ingredients. Things like liquid leftovers from boiling chickpeas, bananas, and even certain types of flour, like oat flower, will do. In our <em>Facebook</em> group, we offer certain variants for others to try," Vakarinaite said.

She also mentioned that people, too, are very resourceful.

"Numerous ideas come from personal experience, and this <em>Facebook</em> group is exactly the space to share them in," she insisted.

All questions will be answered

Vakarinaite informed that although Veganuary began in Lithuania three years ago, this year new features have been added.

"This year, our programme offers a new option for people who have certain questions and can’t find answers to them in newsletters, on <em>Facebook</em>, or in our other resources (we also share information on our website). A special private meeting with one of our nutrition specialists will be organized for such people. The specialist in question is dr Tomas Vaiciunas. Another meeting – with nutrition specialist Elena Kondrataite – will take place too," she said.

Vakarinaite admitted that the programme had more benefits and that she could talk about them all day.

"A certain unique feature which, I guess, helps people to integrate our certain ideas more easily, is an exemplary weekly menu. Therefore, if you are worried about getting all the necessary nutrients and avoid overeating or malnutrition, you can try this balanced menu. It includes simple dishes that also reveal the variety of a plant-based diet," she explained.

Plant-based diet is possible in every home

It is easy to notice that Lithuanian supermarkets and grocery stores are offering more and more goods that can be used to substitute animal products, but Vakarinaite stressed people were often confused by the fact that certain plan-based foods cost more.

"For instance, in certain countries, such as Germany, some supermarkets have pledged to equalize the prices of animal and plant-based products if they are of the same type," she said.

However, Vakarinaite thinks that the price of products should not be the deciding factor.

"I would like to stress that, sure, there is a certain commercial assortment, but the interest in plant-based products may arise naturally, just from remembering how we used to grow tomatoes on the window sill, for example," she continued.

According to the DELFI guest, such initiatives invite people to give a second chance to those products that almost everybody has at home.

"I can go on and on about my love for groats. I think that it is a very useful product, and although we grow all kinds of groats in Lithuania, for some reason most of them have not yet found their way into our dishes. For example, pearl barley or millet groats are extremely beneficial," she claimed.

She mentioned one more important detail.

"I would also encourage discovering products that have been in stores forever, but may look odd to some people. For example, chia seeds. Again, it is a very beneficial product, containing essential amino acids," she said.

Busting old myths

According to Vakarinaite, even though we often do not even think about the usefulness of certain products, a plant-based diet is simply inviting to include vegetables into your ration: "You don’t even notice how such a diet becomes very varied – to the point where choosing what to eat almost becomes an issue because the assortment is so huge."

She pointed out that oftentimes people are simply afraid that switching to a plant-based diet means forgoing numerous favourite products, but that is just not true.

"People, at least those participating in our programme, usually get more from it than give. I have yet to find an animal-based ingredient or dish that could not be substituted with a plant-based alternative," she concluded.

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