We are on the verge of new National Holidays: flags, cuecas and above all a lot of food, which is usually shared with family and friends. However, this anniversary will mark a before and after: it is the first major event held at the national level during the coronavirus pandemic. Gone are the trips to the beach, countryside, ramadas and inns. “Fondéate en casa” is the Government’s strategy for people to make small social instances and hopefully outdoors, during Friday 18, Saturday 19 and Sunday 20.
The main food of Eighteen is usually meat, and around it a cult of the grill and how to do the asado develops. However, vegetarian and vegan currents have become overcrowded in Chile, which is why the typical Chilean barbecue is opening up to more opportunities and flavors, beyond protein and animal fat.
Without going any further, in the National Environmental Survey – carried out in 2018 by that ministry – it was revealed that there are one and a half million Chileans who do not consume meat. Although we did not find a more up-to-date statistic, if you count the friends, family, and acquaintances who are currently practicing this food stream, they are sure to be more than you thought. Within this same survey, 78% of the participants agree or strongly agree that incorporating more vegetables and less meat in the diet helps to take care of the environment, while 75% said they were willing to reduce their consumption to avoid the environmental consequences of its production.
It could be said, then, that we are living a green stage in the history of humanity. For The Economist, 2019 was listed as “the year of veganism”, Something that has been enhanced with the arrival of massive vegan options in the food market: from traditional fast food brands offering vegan options to supermarket products, where today there are complete shelves of food without ingredients of animal origin.
To talk about an Eighteen where meat is not the leitmotif of the celebration, we spoke with nutrition experts, cooks and a vegan instagramer, from whom you can get good ideas to commemorate these dates without any sacrificed animals.
“I was ‘the grilled guatón’ of my family, friends and the course,” says Carlos Manríquez, a proud vegan who on his Instagram account, @guatonvegano, is dedicated to scoring from 1 to 5 meals of this type.
Although Carlos was a “fan of meat and its derivatives, very good for milk and its desserts”, his decision to change his diet was based on the discovery of relevant information. “He lived taking antacids and with health problems,” he says, and along the way he found an idea that made sense to him: “there are beings that coexist with us and we have not let them live in peace for many years.” Added to that was the wear and tear of the planet – the livestock industry would be responsible for emitting 15% of greenhouse gases – which ended up being the trigger that changed the life of this grill fan.
For Fernanda Giacaman, cook at A Happy Kitchen, the key to eating this type of diet, be it vegan or vegetarian, is flexibility. “I think things don’t have to be black or white,” he says. “That leads to excesses.” Giacaman, who these days has presented his recipes at Paula Cocina, left red and white meats a little over 4 years ago. She was a vegetarian and then went vegan.
“For a long time I avoided feeding myself with any derivative of animal origin, and to leave aside those processed from the supermarket, which mostly have something animal. That forced me to study and learn a lot to be well nourished and not always eat the same thing, ”she says.
Through knowledge, a world of possibilities was opened to him. “I had to know ingredients that I had never used, which forced me to be creative in the kitchen and thus break the typical myth that vegans“ only eat lettuce ”among my close friends. In the end, I even managed to get them to prefer this option to a carnivore, ”he says. These days, she added eggs, dairy and seafood to her diet, because she loves them and missed them.
Carolina Rocco has been a cook and vegetarian for 3 years, and since then she has focused on preparations of this type. “In my case it happened almost naturally: I grew up surrounded by animals and I always felt a bit of guilt for eating meat, so I knew that at some point I was going to leave it,” she explains.
Rocco saw this new instance in his life as an opportunity to innovate in preparations “entertaining and rich for all, where vegetables were no longer an accompaniment, but the protagonists”. It was precisely during the quarantine when he was encouraged to share them through his Instagram account, @caroroccos. Like Fernanda Giacaman, she has participated in Paula Cocina’s cycles and these days she has prepared barbecue recipes for vegetarians. Click here to see one of their recipes to celebrate these National Holidays.
Changing eating habits should always be a decision that has the nutritional support of a professional who can guide you and thus have all the nutrients covered.
María José Acevedo, Nutritionist and Magister in Nutrition and Food at the University of Chile, explains that vegans can have a perfectly balanced diet in terms of macronutrients, even if they are excluding all foods of animal origin from their diet. “Rather than focusing on reinforcing the consumption of a certain group of foods, the focus should be on supplementing certain micronutrients that are mainly found in foods of animal origin, such as vitamins B12 and vitamin D,” he points out.
“By not consuming foods that provide these vitamins, vegans will be permanently at risk of deficiencies,” explains María José Acevedo. For this reason, “it is very important to control the levels of Vitamin B12 in the blood, and also 25 (OH) D, which is the indicator of the nutritional status of vitamin D”. In case of being low, you should go to a professional who indicates supplements.
Regarding the vegetarian or ovolact diet, the nutritionist Melisa Paredes comments that “in general, the only safeguard is with vitamin B12, which is of animal origin and we must supplement it or eat it through fortified foods.”
“It is important that the vegetarian diet is balanced, sufficient and varied, hopefully always planned by a nutritionist, to meet the protein requirements,” adds the specialist.
Currently there are various options for food based on plants and substitutes, often chemical, that try to standardize animal products. Before them, María José Acevedo calls to “pay attention to ultra-processed foods”, since there are times when “ingredients are used that help to improve the taste, texture or aromas, but at the cost of the use of endless Food Additives”. According to her, “ultra-processed foods, even if they are vegan, are not healthy”, so it is important to always read the nutritional information of these products and be aware of what you are eating.
Eighteen cannot just be synonymous with gobbling up all the meat you can, and it is necessary to eradicate the perception that it is not a party for vegetarians or vegans. This is completely untrue.
“I also thought that my possibilities to eat and enjoy myself were going to run out, but exactly the opposite happened,” says Carlos Manríquez. One of the nice things about plant-based eating is food innovation and opportunities to discover new flavors. “I think what really encourages would be to sacrifice the life of a living being for my pleasure and celebration, I find that very encouraging,” he analyzes.
“The truth is that the grill is just another source of heat, like the oven, for cooking. For this reason, you can make all kinds of preparations in it ”, explains Carolina Rocco. “The problem is that the same vegetarian preparations are almost always used.” For this reason, it is necessary to break the mold and go in search of new recipes.
Fernanda Giacaman’s invitation is to “open our minds a little to what we are used to and get creative”. The cook suggests that among the unavoidable are “sopaipillas with pebre, some empanaditas (of any type), a grill with grilled vegetables and / or stuffed with egg and cheese, and a good potato or corn cake”. In your account Instagram you can find these delicious preparations.
If you’re a fan of cold cuts, these days there is a wide range of options, “even sausage substitutes, chorizo and meat-free hamburgers,” says Carlos Manríquez, who recommends trying Powfoods plant-based chorizos.
Carolina Rocco proposes cauliflower preparations, a vegetable that is not usually the protagonist of the kitchen. Precisely in the program Paula cooks at home will teach a recipe for spiced and grilled cauliflower, accompanied by chimichurri and a tahini-based dressing. “They are incredible not only with this preparation, but with many others, so they are like three recipes in one”, he adds.
“In the traditional roast you can use the Seitan”, suggests nutritionist María José Acevedo, “which is a gluten-based preparation that has a similar appearance to meat, and can be used to grill”. “The empanadas can also be made from different vegetarian fillings,” says specialist Melisa Paredes, and “for the grill we have burgers with vegetables or grilled or stuffed vegetables.”
“The party will be much better without anyone’s life on our plates,” says Carlos Manríquez and adds that “plant-based nutrition is a reality, there is no scientific contradiction to carry it responsibly. We need to wake up in every way, from love and empathy for everyone ”.
“The grill allows endless preparations, so get your hands on the dough and get creative to break this myth that an Eighteen without meat is not Eighteen”, points out Fernanda Giacaman.
Taking the opinions of all the voices in this article, we created a vegetarian and vegan shopping guide. Remember to always read the nutritional information on the labels.
This wheat protein pasta is a high protein food low in fat and carbohydrates.
Substitute meat burger, made with 100% plant protein. Vegan, gluten free, soy free, cholesterol free, GMO free (GMO free) and kosher.
Certified organic sesame paste, 100% natural, without additives, without added salt or sugar.
A box designed for choripan lovers, but based on plants. The box contains: 3 packages of traditional flavor vegetable chorizo, 2 packages of roasted flavor vegetable sausage, 1 EGGLESS vegetable mayonnaise, of which you can choose between the pea or garlic version.
This is a plant protein based ground beef substitute, made in the USA.
Ideal for snacking, accompanied by sauces or pebre. They are vegan and gluten free.
It contains one unit in its packaging and they are ready in 10 minutes.
* Prices for all products in this article are current as of September 11, 2020. Values and availability may change.