If eating trends are any indication, the world is no longer the preserve of non-vegetarian cuisine. More and more vegetarian and vegan travelers in countries like Canada, the US and elsewhere in Europe are discovering to their pleasant surprise that beyond the veggie burger and veggie pizza, vegetarian food is alive and kicking!

With the resurgence in vegetarianism across the world, thanks in large measure to outlets like Veggie Planet in Mississauga Ontario, local vegetarian dishes and cuisines are making a welcome comeback in countries spread across Europe, Asia and Africa. In fact, for a long time it was believed that except for a few countries like India, the world was by and large a haven for non-vegetarian foodies. But now countries ranging from Thailand to Italy boast of dishes that are true-blue vegetarian and national favorites too. Let’s go on a global epicurean walk across eight countries in four continents, to some of the tourist havens where simple vegetarian street foods are basking in international glory.


Asian vegetarian delights to live for:

Considered the original home of vegetarianism, India is a virtual repository of tasty vegetarian cuisine that can give non-vegetarian food a run for its money. The sheer variety of vegetarian dishes and recipes emanating from this country have enchanted food lovers from across the spectrum. Ironically, one of the most popular and yet most humble dishes is the chana masala. Made of chickpea or great garbanzo bean, chana masala is a great accompaniment to roti, paratha, and naanza. It is a humble man’s lentil curry that is going places, thanks to a mouth-watering combination of tomatoes, onion, a variety of spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Dripping with proteins and full of taste, chana masala is the toast of high-end restaurants as well as humble roadside eateries that dot the vast Indian countryside. Speaking of Indian drinks and adaptations, you have ideas like kawa nuggets and kawa drumstick on mainstream vegetarian restaurant menus nowadays.

Apart from elephants, beaches and great forests, Thailand has become famous in recent years for its mouth-watering array of vegetarian dishes. Long a magnet for international tourists, Thai cuisine is turning out to be that extra element for visiting tourists. Thai cuisine is known for its generous use of coconut milk which lends a unique flavor to the dishes. Popular vegetarian options range from stewed plantains, taro root and sweet potatoes. Thai dishes are replete with lemon grass, local spices, palm sugar and a variety of vegetables that are colorful to behold and tasty to eat. Slurp!

Lebanon, once the jewel of the Middle-East. Also, home to the mouth-watering dish called tabbouleh. A veritable delight for vegetarian food lovers, tabbouleh comprises of bulgur, parsley, onion, mint, cucumber and tomatoes, all dressed with a concoction of lemon juice and olive oil. A veritable middle eastern delight for the taste buds, tabbouleh makes a good combination with hummus along with olives and falafels. Light on the stomach, tabbouleh is consumed cold and can make the humid evenings bearable. If you’re visiting Lebanon and wondering how to stick to vegetarian food, remember there’s tabbouleh to the rescue.


The Americas for vegetarians:

Long famous for its ancient Aztec and Mayan empires, Mexico has always attracted foreign tourists by the droves.  When you talk about Mexican food, the first things that pop to mind are beans, avocado, corn tortillas – you can’t get more vegetarian than this! A common man’s staple diet for a long time, you’ll find the aroma of corn tortillas wafting into your nostrils as they get cooked on skillets.  Available in a variety of vegetarian and vegan fillings, tortillas are healthy, filling and easy on the pocket too. You can find them in high-end restaurants as well as street-side eateries. So, vegetarians can happily visit Mexico.

A major South American destination for business and tourist visitors, Chile has a great vegetarian option in the form of porotos granados – a delectable porridge-like stew imbibing the wholesome goodness of cranberry beans, onion, corn, pumpkin, broth and spices. It is characterized by its rich sweet taste and pungent aroma that wafts from the puree-like concoction.

 

Eternal Europe for vegetarian food lovers:

Italy is not just famous for its ageless art and culture. To be fair, Italian cuisine has made a name for itself in the pantheon of world foods. But it is only now that vegetarian dishes are peeping out from behind the scenes to global acclaim. Foremost among Italy’s contribution to vegetarian cuisine is the white bean peasant soup better known as ribollita. As the staple of peasantry who could not afford meat, it was necessity that shaped ribollita into a vegetarian superstar that is the toast of modern food lovers. Thanks to the white beans, it is full of proteins and carbohydrates. The next time you visit Italy, don’t forget to stop by a roadside restaurant to sample some ribollita!

If you’re visiting Greece, you can take heart from the fact that the Mediterranean country is a vegetarian food lover’s haven. From olives to grapes and rice, the cuisine here is loaded with vegetarian ingredients. Foremost among them is dolma. You can try the staple dish of rice cooked in olive oil and spices – it’s available wherever you travel in the country. Simple and wholesome, dolmas are delicious and renowned as the people’s food. You’ll find it almost anywhere in Greece because everybody loves it!

 

Going vegetarian in Africa:

If you ever visit Lesotho in the African continent, don’t forget to try out Moroko – an astonishingly simple vegetarian recipe of roughly chopped greens that are boiled before simmering in oil and finally mashed to form a lovely green colored soggy porridge. Comprises of vegetables and greens ranging from kale, chard, radish, mustard, dandelions, spinach and so on. Take a spoonful of the vegetarian porridge and get ready to be transported into the realms of epicurean delight. Tastes especially good when eaten along with potatoes or rice. Widely available and relished all over the landlocked nation that nestles within South Africa.

While travelling the world in search of the fulfilling vegetarian dish may not be everyone’s idea of fun, if you stay in Brampton or Mississauga area, you can always walk into your local Veggieplanet and savor some lip-smacking vegetarian Planet special poutine!

Veggie Planet offers convenient online ordering via website (https://veggieplanet.ca) and flexible delivery options, including delivery within a 15-kilometer radius available in Mississauga and Greater Toronto Area.

For in-restaurant pickups, Veggie Planet is located at 6985 Davand Dr Unit #1, Mississauga, ON L5T 1Y7 and can be reached at (905) 795-7950 for all vegetarian and vegan restaurant menu items.

Vegetarianism is fast becoming an option for many families across Toronto, Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada and the world. While going vegetarian or vegan is a healthy proposition, many parents have concerns on the health implications over the physical and mental implications of a non-meat diet composed of vegetables,  veggie burger or veggie pizza for growing children. If you too are one such doubting Thomas, here’s the low-down on the benefits of introducing your children to the pleasures and benefits of Indian street food whose mainstay are vegetarian foods and vegan diets.

To begin this month’s article, it has been seen that consuming a vegetarian or vegan diet gives substantial health advantages to kids in comparison to those raised on a typical meat-rich diet. Exposing your growing children to these benefits will give them a head start in the healthy lifestyle stakes. Vegetarian diets are rich in fiber, short on saturated fat, brimming with essential minerals and vitamins. They are also bursting with plant protein and thus absolutely cholesterol-free.

Thanks to the abundance of processed meat-based foods, teenage obesity has become a fact of life today. Adolescents brought up as vegetarians, are seen to be effortlessly maintaining their BMIs. They also suffer less from typical teenage problems such as acne and gastro problems associated with meat-based foods. Coming to the specifics, lower incidence of life-threatening disease such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, is seen in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

Advantages of growing up vegetarian and vegan

By switching over to a vegetarian diet, your children automatically get the benefits associated with high-fiber foods. Expect your children to have better digestion and a higher metabolic rate. Their bodies are also better positioned to expel toxins and wastes produced during the metabolic processes. On a vegetarian diet, your kids will also maintain healthy fluid levels in their bodies. With a vegetarian diet, you can also expect your children’s eyes to be healthier and their eyesight sharper.  The net result is a healthy body that excels in getting the best out of life.

Nutrition apart, fatty acids are low in vegetarian food making it easier to absorb. This in turn contributes to maintaining a stable flow of blood sugar in the body – keeping diabetes at arms-length. Consumers of non-vegetarian fast foods are observed to have blood sugar levels that fluctuate erratically the moment they finish eating any meat-based fast food. It goes without saying that vegetarian fast foods that your friendly neighborhood Veggie Planet Indian street food restaurant in Mississauga, Brampton and the GTA dishes up, are a good option to head out to whenever your kids crave a quick bite.

It’s not just the body but also your child’s mind that benefits from going vegetarian early in life. Studies have shown that people who are vegetarians or vegans perform better on mood profile and depression tests. Further, the organic cultivation of vegetables is further adding to the health benefits that your children will enjoy when they adopt a vegetarian diet. All these factors are responsible for developing a positive outlook in your child towards life in general.

Summing up, since they are a storehouse of plant and grain-based ingredients, vegetarian fast foods are good for growing children because they get their supply of essential vitamins like C, E, and folic acid. And then, since vegetarian fast foods are high on magnesium, phytochemicals and unsaturated fats, your children will have lower cholesterol levels of cholesterol and consequently their blood pressure levels are also at the proper levels.

Introducing your kids to vegetarian In Mississauga, Brampton and the GTA

The first problem that parents face while introducing their kids to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is the taste factor. It’s best to understand that taste is an acquired sensibility and with time and constant exposure, our taste buds learn to like the food they come across. But kids being kids, you will have to put on your innovative cap to come up with attractive recipes that are vegetarian but high on taste factor.

For example, oat waffles topped with maple syrup or fruit are a good breakfast option for budding vegan kids. Similarly, a lentil loaf lunch would have your kids literally begging you for seconds. What’s more, it is dripping with proteins and fiber, which are very essential for health and wellness. Similarly, hummus is a great option to introduce your kids to the benefits of vegetarian food. Kawa Nuggets and Kawa Drumstick serve at Veggie Planet are a tasty yet healthy option that you can explore along with your children. As you will see moving forward that your kids will gradually get used to vegetarian dishes and actually begin to prefer them when the health benefits begin to show up.

 

As a parent bringing up your kids the vegan way, you must expect and prepare your children to face many a social challenge too. This is because meat-eating families are still the norm rather than the exception. Especially when they are attending birthday parties and get-togethers where non-vegetarian food is on the menu, it makes sense to call up the hosts in advance and appraise them of your child’s preferences. It will give the hosts sufficient time to include veggie options such as veggie burgers, tofu crackers, vegan cakes, Naanza and Indian drinks such as jal-jeera. Better still, there are specialty vegetarian fast food outlets such as Veggie Planet in Mississauga where your kids can tuck into the Planet Special Poutine, to their hearts’ content.

Another area where your kids are likely to face challenges are during the lunch break at the school cafeteria. Get together with other parents in the locality, who share similar concerns, and try to persuade the school authorities on including a couple of vegetarian and vegan options in the menu.

Talking about Indian vegetarian fast food restaurants, the good thing about them is that they have successfully reinvented themselves for a global clientele. Your kids don’t have to forego taste for the sake of a healthy lifestyle. If you live in Mississauga, Brampton and the Greater Toronto Area, or passing through with your kids, step in for a quick bite of heavenly Naanza at Veggie Planet!

Veggie Planet offers convenient online ordering via website (https://veggieplanet.ca) and flexible delivery options, including delivery within a 15-kilometer radius available in Mississauga and Greater Toronto Area.

For in-restaurant pickups, Veggie Planet is located at 6985 Davand Dr Unit #1, Mississauga, ON L5T 1Y7 and can be reached at (905) 795-7950 for all vegetarian and vegan restaurant menu items.