The Veggie Life

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28 M | | La vida Eat your veggies It’s growing ever easier to live here as a vegetarian. By Stefana Serafina. Photos by Susana Grau. Barcelona is becoming vegetarian-friendly. W hile by no means a new phenomenon, the vegetarian lifestyle has earned increasing numbers of adherents in the West over the past decade. While some vegetarians consider their choice to eat a meatless diet as a sacrifice for better health, many see it instead as an integral part of a lifestyle that embodies respect f
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    28   |   M   |   La vida W hile by no means a new phenomenon, the vegetarian lie-style has earned increasing numbers o adherents in theWest over the past decade. While some vegetarians consid-er their choice to eat a meatless diet as a sacrice or better health,many see it instead as an integral part o a liestyle that embodies re-spect or all living creatures, animal rights and a wholesome, healthyplanet. Many cities have developed multiple resources or vegetar-ians, helping oster not only a meatless diet, but vegetarianism as anactive attitude about making a better world.In recent years, the preerence orplant-based ood and beverages, ani-mal cruelty-ree cosmetic productsand clothes that don’t require the kill-ing o animals to be manuactured hasmade itsel a commercial orce. Even‘mega’ corporations like Starbucks,Subway and Burger King are address-ing vegetarian and vegan diets amongtheir customers, oering dairy-reebeverages and vegetarian meals around the globe. It is sae to saythat vegetarianism has irreversibly entered the mainstream.However, in blogs and on-line orums, anxious rst-time visitorsto this city oten worry along the lines o, “Oh my God, I’m going toBarcelona. What will I eat?” Even Wikipedia, in its page on Euro-pean vegetarianism, claims: “In Spain, most ‘vegetarian’ meals willbe served with egg, or even tuna, even i vegetarians are not that un-common; however, most ood companies and markets simply do notcare about it.” But in reality, although Spain isn’t necessarily knownor vegetarian inclinations, once in Barcelona the vegetarian’s wor-ries are quickly dispelled.In Barcelona, there are over 40 restaurants and markets dedicatedto providing meat-ree meals, according to Happy Cow, one o theworld’s largest on-line vegetarian guides, and the gure is echoed bythe Barcelona-based web or vegetarians, Sin Carne. A poll by theHappy Cow guides recently listed New York, San Francisco, London,Singapore and Portland, Oregon as the top ve places or provid-ing an easy, enjoyable vegetarian liestyle. And although Barcelonaisn’t even ound amongst the runner-ups (Chiang Mai in Thailand,Toronto, Canada, and Taipei, Taiwan), it still ranks 19th in the worldin the number o vegetarian res-taurants and caés, coming in justater San Francisco. With placeslike Amaltea, Veg World, Sesamo,Vegetalia, Juicy Jones, Maoz andOrganic, the Catalan capital seemsequipped to respond to any vegetar-ian caprice.“The attitudes towards the con-cept o vegetarianism have denitelychanged over the last decade in Barcelona,” said Mads Rademacher,the Danish man whose Juicy Jones oers a vegan alternative—–mealsthat don’t contain any animal by-products—to Barcelona’s ‘old-ashioned’ vegetarian cuisine with less favour, eggs and dairy in theingredients, and an oten unappetising presentation. The vegan lie-style opposes all orms o cruelty to animals, and its adherents eat nocheese, eggs or butter, and wear no clothes or shoes made o leather.It is not popular in Barcelona, although the concept isn’t unknown,and groups like Acción Vegana do exist. In addition to Juicy Jones,other places cater to vegans, like the venerable vegetarian Indianrestaurant Govinda, which was the rst in the city to do so. “Oh my God, I’m going toBarcelona. What will I eat?” Barcelona is becomingvegetarian-friendly. Eat your veggies It’s growing ever easier to live here as a vegetarian.By Steana Serafna. Photos by Susana Grau. 28-29. vegetarian-4.indd 3422/1/09 14:24:04  La vida   |   M   |   29 Giselle Tarrés, who helps her mother run the Organic vegetarianrestaurants in Barcelona, agreed with Rademacher that the growingabundance o inormation on nutrition has made people in Barcelonamore open to the ideas o eating and living vegetarian. “Young peo-ple in particular have become more aware o the vices o the modernood system—the killing o animals, the rozen and canned ood, themechanised processing o what we eat. More and more oten, theethical motivations come rst.”The clientele at Organic and Juicy Jones consists o both localsand tourists, and ranges rom teenage skaters to elderly ladies. Bar-celona may not be a cutting-edge city in the vegetarian world, but itsresidents are generally an open, tolerant bunch, willing to considerdierent world-views and embrace a healthier, more humane way olie, according to Rademacher. “You won’t see the people o Barce-lona shouting animal-rights slogans in the streets, but they are pro-gressive in their own quiet way, as they are inclined to contemplateand embrace radical ideas.”In act, vegetarianism here has quite a long history. One o therst vegetarian organisations in Spain was the Lliga Vegetariana deCatalunya, established in 1907. In 1920, the Sociedad Vegetarianade Catalunya was created. Since then, the region has been distin-guished as the Spanish autonomic region with the greatest numbero vegetarians, and vegetarian-riendly environments. Even AntoniGaudí is known to have kept a strict vegetarian diet. “His meagerlunches had oten consisted o just a bowl o resh lettuce leavesdipped in milk, nishing later with a handul o nuts or sugared al-monds,” according to Cèsar Martinell’s book, Conversaciones conGaudí  . In 2004, Barcelona became the nation’s rst city to declareitsel an ‘anti-bullghting city’ ater nearly 250,000 residents signeda petition to oppose the bloody sport.About our percent o Spain’s population ollows a vegetariandiet, according to the European Vegetarian Union (EVU). That samepercentage o vegetarians is also estimated or countries like Can-ada, the US and the Netherlands. The European chart is topped byItaly, with 10 percent o its population dening themselves as veg-etarians, Germany and Switzerland have nine, and the UK has sixpercent. At the bottom o the Old Continent’s list are countries likePortugal, Poland and Denmark, where vegetarianism seems to at-tract ew adherents.While popular demand in countries like Canada and the US hasorced college campuses and schools to introduce vegetarian and ve-gan options, coee shops to oer vegan pastries and dairy-ree cap- puccinos and music estivals to promote vegetarian and eco-riendlypractices to attract visitors, in Barcelona the vegetarian liestyle isstill characterised by its relative scarcity and a much lower demand.In markets like Veritas, a pair o veggie burgers costs about ve eu-ros, a handul o seitan (the wheat gluten meat substitute) is aboutour euros and less than hal a kilo o tou is more than three. Veg-etarian products are not only expensive, but their variety is morelimited, and oten lacking in favour compared with cities wheresuch products are in more demand.For many environmentally sensitive, politically active and so-cially aware residents, embracing vegetarianism or seeking to in-clude vegetarian alternatives is becoming part o their daily lives,and a way o building a new relationship to other species and aect-ing a positive change in the world. It can also seem to be in direct op-position to centuries o a meat-based diet, a cuisine ounded on feshand stretching back a long way. Nevertheless, attitudes are changingand vegetarians here are nding it easier and easier to eat accordingto their heart’s delight. Useful links: www.sincarne.net  For a world-wide search of vegetarian places,information, and statistics: www.happycow.net  The European Vegetarian Union: www.euroveg.eu  Mundo Vegetariano: www.mundovegetariano.com  The Vegetarian Society: www.vegsoc.org   Accion Vegana: www.accionvegana.org    So muchchoice Britain’s largest university offers over 600 courses, all taughtin English by supported distance learning. You can mix andmatch courses to study for personal interest, or combinecourses to get the qualification you want. For details, visit our website or contact us quoting ESKAAB Telephone: 91 577 77 01 Email: spain@open.ac.uk www.open.ac.uk/europe The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity inEngland and Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). Open Event Thursday 12th February 200918.30 - 20.30 at The Hotel Astoria,Calle Paris no 203, BarcelonaPresentation at 19.00  The Philharmonic English Pub Open Monday to Friday 9am-3am ã Saturday & Sunday 12pm-3amt. + 34 934 511 153 ã t. + 34 934 515 043The Philharmonic ã Mallorca, 204, 08036 BCNwww.the-philharmonic.com foodsportsmusic “Not just a pub, more a way of life” 28-29. vegetarian-4.indd 3522/1/09 14:24:27
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