Austrian Plant- Based Special
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. It finally started to snow in Vienna last night and the kids couldn’t wait to run outside to play this morning.
Spending some time in Vienna again is simply incredible… for once, there are an amazing number of art museums featuring specials on CLAUDE MONET,
JOAN MIRO and the worldwide biggest mammoth exhibition at the Museum of Natural History. We got to see The Nutcracker at the world famous Viennese Opera House and watched The Wizard of Oz in another theatre. So much culture all around us just waiting to be explored!! There are still quite a few things on our Viennese bucket list that we will do during the next couple of weeks…call it cultural stress.
What really surprised me though was the number of vegan restaurants and supermarkets that opened up during the last year. Austrians seem to be on the forefront of healthy eating! A lot of our friends surprised us by telling us that they cut down on meat and seafood and eat a lot more vegetables- if possible, locally grown! We found tons of articles in newspapers and TV features on vegan food. Unavoidably, some of the articles warn of the dangers of a vegan diet, especially for children and suggesting to have blood tests done every 6 months to avoid any serious side effects resulting from vitamin, mineral deficiencies and so forth. These articles cause a lot of confusion with people who are thinking about changing their diet. Is being vegan jeopardizing one’s health or restoring one’s health?? Let’s take a look:
Can a vegan diet be unhealthy? YES, definitely. In a vegan diet refined and processed foods like white sugar, white flour, white rice, oils, fake meats, fake cheeses etc can be consumed. If a lot of those products are consumed and very little fruits, vegetables and whole grain products one can develop nutritional deficiencies.
On the other hand, can a “traditional” western diet be unhealthy? YES, definitely. There is overwhelming research (see my other posts) that a diet rich in animal products are the cause of all kinds of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer and so on. In conclusion: avoid such diet if you want to lead a healthy life. I the articles which I mentioned above and which encourage followers of vegan or plant based diets to have their blood checked for levels of essential vitamins. Interestingly, they seem to imply that such check ups are not needed, if you follow a regular western (or Austrian) diet. In my view this is clearly misleading, followers of a western diet have to check disease markers – a much greater drawback than checking for vitamin levels…
Can a plant based diet be unhealthy? YES, definitely. Every diet is unhealthy if unbalanced. As long as you eat a large variety of whole, plant based foods, you will be promoting good health.
Being back in my hometown Vienna also brings back memories of the food I grew up with. Traditional Austrian food includes a lot of meat (everybody knows the famous Viennese Schnitzel), some vegetables and salads on the side and a HUGE variety of sweet desserts and pastries. These are delicious, but of course, extremely rich in butter, eggs, refined sugar and refined flour..and cream.
I tweaked some of the traditional Austrian recipes and came up with healthier versions. Here is a list of healthy, traditional recipes:
SWEET AUSTRIAN APRICOT DUMPLINGS
AUSTRIAN CARAMELIZED APPLE “SCHMARRN”
AUSTRIAN LENTIL “GROESTL”
As usual, you’ll find these recipes in the recipe folder under “desserts” or “main dishes”.
I hope you’ll enjoy some of our traditional food and feel a little bit of the “Viennese spirit”.