Everything sustainable, organic, natural and ecological is becoming more popular everyday with consumers. This may be part of the
reason Barcelona, declaring itself as a “veggie friendly” city, has decided to implement steps to help visitors to find exciting plant-based meal options. There is even talk of a “BCNvegPoint”; an area reserved for vegan and vegetarian businesses. Wow! But why the increase in vegetarians? Is it some kind of new “hipster” trend or is there something more to it?

I may be a bit biased as a vegetarian myself, but I strongly believe this is no trend. In fact, it is a movement. All over the world, people are getting more educated about the issues surrounding animal agriculture in relation to the environment, morality and even our own health.

vegetarian-protest-barcelonaI have been quite impressed with the amount of knowledge and awareness in Barcelona. Living here for less than three weeks, I have already witnessed several peaceful protests about animal agriculture. Seen on the picture on the left, activists in the metro station wearing masks, holding their laptops in their arms showing compelling videos to bring attention to the subject of the impacts of animal agriculture on the planet and all of its beings (that includes us by the way!). Other helpers were handing out flyers to those stopping to glance at their creative protest.

So why go vegan? There are many different reasons one could decide to stop eating meat, but the three greatest and most common reasons are the environment, animal cruelty and health. Many people aren’t aware of this, but animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gasses caused by humans. It is also the leading cause of deforestation and species extinction. One can decide to ride their bicycle instead of driving, recycle and take short showers, but simply going vegan trumps all of those envegetarianvironmentally friendly habits. In other words, the absolute best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to become vegan.

Another major reason to become vegan; animal cruelty. The problem with this one is that people in the western world disassociate the food on their plates with living beings. It’s difficult for people to realize that they are actually eating an innocent being that feels fear and pain just as much as we do. I am currently reading a great book “Beasts” by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, which gives a wonderful depiction of how humans place themselves above and beyond the food chain.

“We cannot imagine ourselves similarly positioned as food. We act as if we live in a separate realm of culture in which we are never food, while other animals inhabit a different world of nature in which they are no more than food, and their lives can be utterly distorted in the service of this end.” – Valerie Plumwood

Gives an interesting perspective doesn’t it? An eye opener for many!

Finally, the third common reason to become vegan is your health! Confused? Yes, it is actually healthy to be vegan. Many researchers and scientists have discovered that the consumption of red meat has a direct link to cancers and heart disease. Many people also feel much more energetic and good in their bodies. Of course, it’s necessary to get all of the protein, iron and nutrients that your body needs, but contrary to popular belief, you do not have to take 100 different pills to do that. There are many plant-based foods that give you all of the necessary nutrients, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, the list goes on…

Now that I’ve gotten that essential part of this piece covered, here’s the fun stuff! With all of the vegan and vegetarian restaurants popping up in Barcelona, where do you start? Here are a couple recommendations:

Maoz Falafel – They claim to have the best falafel in the world and use the slogan “Join the vegolution” – which I personally love! Situated at the centre of Bari Gothic, it’s a perfect spot to stop for lunch while getting lost in all the beautiful narrow streets!

Heading to the beach? Bar Celoneta is a located in – you guessed it – Barceloneta! (Get it? Bar Celoneta?) Right by the beach so you can enjoy their delicious sangria, vegan burgers and much more! Since 2015 they have reported that everything is vegan! Stop by to support this awesome business.

Vegetalia has tvegetalia-vegetarianhree locations in Barcelona – Raval, Born and Placa George Orwell! As if that wasn’t already convenient enough, they even have a Food Truck, which they call the “Vege-Mobile”. With their own organic garden, they supply their own plants to ensure quality ecological food.

Those are only a couple recommendations, but there are many more to discover, simply check out this list on HappyCow.com with 161 vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Barcelona that all have recommendations! veganoteca-vegetarian

There are also many vegan grocery stores where you can buy 100% vegan products! I pass by Veganoteca on Carrer de Valldonzella everyday on my way to work and have popped in several times, they have all kinds of products including vegan cleaning products!

Last but certainly not least, there are many great people starting new things in Barcelona as well! One of them is Naty Creci, she doubles as a talented flexitarian chef and photographer. I was lucky to meet her at an event recently and was amazed at her delicious homemade vegan snacks! She had even made her own mayonnaise with tofu! Creci, who is currently in the process of creating her own flexitarian recipe book, has not only the right touch in the kitchen but also with her camera! Have a look at some of her photos below and follow her on Instagram for more!

@nacrekein-vegetarian

@nacrekein

Perhaps it’s pushing the envelope to call Barcelona an upcoming vegetarian city considering the popularity of the “jamón” and cured meats here. However, I am optimistic that people are learning more every day that passes and the movement of vegetarianism and veganism is happening not only in this fabulous city but all around the world.

 

Danielle Marquis

The GRID BCN

danielle-marquis-vegetarian

© Naty Creci

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