Converting A Restaurant Vegan

I’ve been reading a BBC article about how many people in Israel are converting to veganism. This article describes how an owner of a pub that serves a significant amount of animal food decided to go vegan, and business has been really good:

Until a few years ago, Nanuchka was just a conventional Georgian pub serving traditional food like khachapuri, a cheesy bread, and khinkali, a meat-stuffed dumpling.

But then Nana Shrier, the flamboyant owner of the venue, where the walls are adorned with erotic art, became a strict vegan – in what is said to be the most vegan country in the world per capita.

She decided to convert her entire restaurant to a meatless and dairy-free establishment despite being advised against it by friends and business colleagues.

Israelis are flocking to it – and business is more successful than ever.

All this made me wonder whether it would be a lucrative business to buy existing restaurants and then veganize them.

Veganism is not only popular in Israel. Interest in the lifestyle seems to be rising in many countries. Google Trends shows that the search term “vegan” and especially “vegan protein” has been rising significantly.

Buying up a restaurant business (or starting one) and veganizing it would not be difficult. For any animal product, there is a vegan alternative. For example, if a restaurant served chicken, simply replace the chicken with vegan chicken. If there is a recipe that uses cheese, replace with vegan cheese. If there a recipe that uses dairy milk, replace it with almond milk.

Given the high quality of vegan meat and dairy alternatives nowadays, most meat eaters will not even notice any difference. Most meat eaters simply eat meat because that’s what’s available. Those meat eaters who really care that their meat comes from an animal and that it must be e.g. grass-fed, are few in number.

A vegan restaurant that sells mainstream food including vegan meat and dairy should not lose much business to meat eaters. However, the benefit of having a vegan restaurant is that vegans will actively search for your restaurant online.

When being a vegan, it is much easier to go to a dedicated vegan restaurant where you can order anything and know for sure that it is vegan. This saves having to tell the waiter to e.g. replace the chicken with tofu, remove all the cheese, remove all the egg, and usually after all this you end up looking weird and different.

If it is true that veganizing a restaurant will attract many vegans while scaring off few meat eaters, overall vegan restaurants should be a great business. I have always wanted to invest my money ethically, so it may be a good idea to borrow money from the bank to start a vegan restaurant or buy an existing restaurant and veganize it.

 

What Causes Heart Disease?

Below is an informative video by Vegan Gains on cholesterol and heart disease. The bottom line is that fat is important, and there are plenty of plant sources of fat such as nuts, seeds, avocado, and coconut. However, too much fat, especially saturated fat, will cause atherosclerosis and heart disease. Eat fat, but not too much.

Fish: High in Protein, Omega 3, and Microplastic

There are many people who eat fish thinking it is healthy. It is true that fish is high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids. However, the fish we eat today is nothing like the fish our ancestors ate. If you eat fish, you are not only supplementing yourself with protein and omega 3 but also various industrial toxins such as cadmium, PCBs, and mercury.

The video below from Al Jazeera shows that fish also contains high concentrations of microplastics. How do these microplastics enter our oceans? Whenever we wash clothes, the synthetic fabrics in our t-shirts or other clothing leech microplastics into the water used to clean clothes. When the water is drained, it is released into the ocean where it accumulates into fish who swim in industrial toxins. If we eat fish, we eat microplastics as well as other industrial toxins.

How then do we get the benefits of fish (protein and omega 3) without any of the contaminants? Simply switch to plant-based protein, e.g. one bag of beans costs $1.70 and contains 100 grams of protein. Vegan protein powder such as pea protein is also very price competitive compared to dairy-based whey protein.

As for omega 3, I personally take a DHA and EPA supplement from Deva Nutrition that contains omega 3 fatty acid derived from algae grown on land under controlled conditions. As such, there is no industrial contamination. Deva Nutrition is a reputable business that is accredited and approved by the Vegan Society. If you cannot find this product at your local chemist, look at reputable online retailers such as Amazon or iHerb (iHerb has worldwide shipping).

If you’d like to be further educated about industrial pollutants in fish, watch the videos below:

Food sources of PCB chemical pollutants (NutritionFacts.org)
Flame Retardant Chemical Contamination (NutritionFacts.org)

Meat Eater Won’t Turn Vegan? Give Them Beans

In my earlier post What to Do When Someone Gives you a Non-Vegan Gift, I suggested that you should accept non-vegan gifts (e.g. non-vegan toothpaste) and then give it to a non-vegan as a gift.

The idea is that if I gave a non-vegan toothpaste to someone, because they are using your gift, they will delay purchase of non-vegan products, which means fewer non-vegan products are purchased.

The same idea applies for food. For example, suppose someone gave you chocolate as a gift. This often happens during, say, Easter. The chocolate is not dark chocolate and contains dairy milk, which means it is not vegan. What I do instead is I give this chocolate to someone I know is not vegan and is unlikely to convert to veganism. Tell them something like, “I got these for Easter. I am vegan, so I can’t eat it. Do you want it?”

There are many benefits of giving away food. Firstly, the non-vegans will be grateful for the gift. They will have a positive reaction. If you are kind to someone, they are more likely to be kind back to you, which means they may research veganism and give it a try.

Furthermore, by giving them chocolate, this family will delay and therefore buy less animal product. If you give chocolate, this means they don’t need to purchase as much food, which means they will be less likely to purchase animal food, which helps the vegan movement. For example, if I were a meat eater and someone gave me a whole day’s worth of chocolate, I wouldn’t need to buy meat for the day because I’d want to eat the chocolate before it goes off.

Of course, there are some problems with this technique. Firstly, the family receiving the gift may not delay or reduce purchase of animal products at all but instead will eat your gift in addition to the food they already eat and as a result they will get fatter.

This is a major problem. However, there is a way to fix it. I personally have now gotten into the habit of buying beans from the supermarket and giving it to meat eaters as gifts. Suppose I received a box of chocolate as a gift. If will then purchase about two kilograms of dry beans from the supermarket and give not only the beans to the meat eating family but I will also give the chocolate as well.

The reason why I like to buy beans is because beans are extremely cheap and healthy.

I personally purchase various McKenzie’s beans and soup mixes from Coles supermarkets. The cheapest beans cost $1.70 per 500 gram bag. Each bag contains about 100 grams of protein. Given that the average person needs about 50 grams of protein per day, one bag (which is approximately one bowl) gives you double your protein requirements.

Another reason why beans are great is because they fill you up fast. If I gave chocolate to someone, they may eat the chocolate and still be hungry, so they will head off to buy junk animal food like KFC or McDonald’s. However, after one bowl of beans, I am really full. Studies find that food high in fiber and protein tends to make people feel full and satisfied. Because beans will fill you up as well as beef will, I feel that eating beans will quickly end a meat eater’s meat cravings. Both beans and beef are high in protein, but unlike beef, beans contain fiber.

Whey Protein Expensive? Try Pea Protein

Many bodybuilders drink whey protein to increase their calorie and protein intake.

The problem is that the price of dairy products (including whey protein) is rising. It is getting more and more expensive.

Rather than pay more and more for whey protein, my suggestion is that bodybuilders (or anyone wanting cheaper protein in their diet) instead switch to pea protein.

At many websites, a comparison of pea protein against whey protein shows that pea protein is much cheaper.

At bulknutrients.com.au, whey protein concentrate is $540 for 30kg = $18 per kg whereas pea protein isolate is $319 for 20kg = $15.95 per kg. Furthermore, pea protein isolate is 82.4% protein compared to whey protein concentrate, which is only 76.5% protein. To make the comparison fairer, pea protein isolate needs to be compared to whey protein isolate, which contains 87.7% protein. However, WPI costs $810 for 30 kg = $27 per kg, almost double the price of the pea protein.

Bottom line is that WPC is 13% more expensive than PPI but contains less protein.

Bulk Nutrients is an Australian company shipping protein to Australians. Those outside Australia should look at local retailers or look for pea protein from websites that ship internationally, e.g. pea protein from iHerb.

Some people will claim that pea protein is lower quality than whey protein, but this is not the case. The study below shows that for increasing muscle mass, pea protein works just as well as whey protein.

If you can get the same quality protein for lower cost (and not support the dairy industry), then why not opt for pea protein?

RESULTS: Results showed a significant time effect for biceps brachii muscle thickness (P < 0.0001). Thickness increased from 24.9 ± 3.8 mm to 26.9 ± 4.1 mm and 27.3 ± 4.4 mm at D0, D42 and D84, respectively, with only a trend toward significant differences between groups (P = 0.09). Performing a sensitivity study on the weakest participants (with regards to strength at inclusion), thickness increases were significantly different between groups (+20.2 ± 12.3%, +15.6 ± 13.5% and +8.6 ± 7.3% for Pea, Whey and Placebo, respectively; P < 0.05). Increases in thickness were significantly greater in the Pea group as compared to Placebo whereas there was no difference between Whey and the two other conditions. Muscle strength also increased with time with no statistical difference between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: In addition to an appropriate training, the supplementation with pea protein promoted a greater increase of muscle thickness as compared to Placebo and especially for people starting or returning to a muscular strengthening. Since no difference was obtained between the two protein groups, vegetable pea proteins could be used as an alternative to Whey-based dietary products.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25628520/

How a Vegan Diet Motivates You to be Healthy

I’ve been a vegan for probably one year now. When I started, I remember going on the diet in secret. I was a covert vegan. I didn’t tell anyone because I was concerned they might freak out.

I remember finding the vegan diet difficult because I lived with my family and my mother cooks my meals. Furthermore, when I am at work, I was too lazy to cook, so I always ate out at restaurants with coworkers or friends.

Rather than eat out with coworkers, for lunch I would instead purchase vegan food and eat at my desk. Now I make my own sandwich at home and bring it to work. Then I told my mother that I didn’t want to eat meat, cheese, and egg. She didn’t seem to like this at first, and my dad had a word with me about my behaviour, but I stuck with my position. After all, I wasn’t a child but a fully grown adult. If non-vegan food was served to me, I simply didn’t eat it, and I could easily blend my own green smoothie if I needed to fill myself up.

I am now mostly vegan. Some animal products probably slip in here and there. Sometimes I am vegetarian when eating out or travelling.

A few days ago, I was at a family gathering. My brother was there. Everyone was surprised at how skinny my brother was. His bones and ribs were showing. My concerned grandmother told my brother he needed to eat more. One family member joked that my brother was even smaller than me, which was surprising to him because I was a vegan.

Supposedly the stereotype of a vegan is that they are skinny and malnourished.

That night, while I was lying in bed, I thought about the incident. Before I was vegan, I often tried to be healthy. I tried to exercise a lot. I tried to eat healthy food. But often I would just fail. It was too tempting to eat hamburgers and bacon, so I would binge on the McDonald’s and KFC. I think the reasoning is because I figured that you only live once, so why not enjoy your life eating what you enjoy eating?

However, as soon as turned vegan, I found that the motivation to eat healthy and exercise was rock solid.

My dad used to be a smoker. He’d smoke several packs of cigarettes per day. However, when I was a baby, I accidentally crawled and fell into a cigarette ashtray. There was ash all over my face. My father realized suddenly that if he wanted to set a good example for his children, he needed to quit smoking. How could he recommend his children not smoke when he himself smoked? So he quit completely the next day.

Sometimes when faced with fulfilling a cause greater than himself, a man will act. When it comes to addiction, many of us are happy to feed the addiction, even if it costs us our health, but if it is another being who you’re hurting (e.g. your own child through passive smoking) then that is completely different.

The same applies to veganism. When I went on a vegan diet, I knew instantly that I would be judged. If I ended up looking unhealthy, if I ended up looking skinny and malnourished, people will shake their heads and blame the vegan diet regardless of whether the vegan diet was to blame or not. If someone is thinking of cutting down meat, dairy, and eggs, and they see a vegan who is skinny, pale, and malnourished, they will automatically conclude that the vegan diet is unhealthy and they will continue to eat animal products, and hundreds of thousands of extra animals will be slaughtered. Cows will be raped, pigs will be electrocuted, and chicken will be macerated.

If I don’t eat healthy and go to the gym, I will become unhealthy, and as a result I will represent veganism badly, people will increase their animal intake, and therefore hundreds of thousands of animals will be slaughtered, and there will be blood on my hands.

This was what motivated me. It’s easy to chow down on KFC and McDonald’s when it’s just your own health at stake, but when your decisions affect the lives of other innocent beings, that is a powerful motivator.

Giving Gifts vs Money at Weddings

I have heard many stories of couples and families who try to make a profit from a wedding.

When going to a wedding, something I really hate is when I am asked to give money rather than a gift. According to the Guardian, many couples are using poetry to ask guests to give money rather than gifts.

Furthermore, according to the Guardian, it seems many guests are happy with giving money: “Plenty of guests prefer to give cash, as it is less time-consuming and they know their gift is something the bride and groom will find useful.”

I am against giving money at a wedding mainly because I have heard many stories of couples and families who try to make a profit from a wedding. When the expectation is that each guest will bring a certain amount of money (e.g. $200), there are many couples who will try to provide cheap catering, cheap band, etc in order to keep costs low and therefore make a profit from the wedding!

In fact, coming from an Asian background, I was encouraged to marry a girl because, according to one of my aunts, the wedding would make me rich because guests would give me gifts like new cars. (I declined the offer to marry not because of the profit I would have made from the wedding but because the girl provided was quite annoying. I will talk about this in more detail in another blog post.)

The best way to prevent this sort of scam from happening is to give gifts at weddings. Gifts can certainly be sold, but most products will lose value if sold as people prefer to buy products from reputable retailers. Furthermore, most people are too lazy to sell gifts.

As a vegan, I like I give a gift that promotes the vegan lifestyle, and the perfect gift for that is e.g. a blender. A blender will encourage the married couple to blend green smoothies for themselves, which will make them purchase kale, spinach, etc for the rest of their lives. (Of course, they could put yoghurt and dairy milk into the smoothie as well.) Many other vegan products can be purchased, e.g. non-leather clothing.