ER: Expats in Riga decided to talk to you because you are a vegan cook, and this is popular now. Could you, please, tell why you have decided to work in this sphere and why vegan nutrition is so widespread nowadays?
JK: The vegan culinary interested me long before I have decided to change my career and become a cook. It always seemed to me that a diet of a modern citizen lacks vegetables, and I felt that I would like to make vegetable dishes as tasty as possible. I have studied various ways how to use vegetable products in the preparation of different dishes and understood that it is possible to make any dish vegan.
ER: Veganism – is it a philosophy or just a diet? Who invented it and how it was born?
JK: Any regular ration is based on a philosophy, even if it is a health philosophy. Veganism is rooted in the ahisma principle, a principle of a non-violence regarding everything that is alive. It started to spread in the Western world together with Eastern religious studies. A term veganism how it is treated nowadays first appeared in the middle of the 20th century.
ER: Some people say that the veganism is an extreme of the vegetarism. Is it correct to say so?
JK: Veganism is different from vegetarism. Vegans do not consume any products of animal origin. The most radical vegans exclude even a honey from their ration.
ER: If we talk about a healthy lifestyle and the veganism, would it be possible to say that veganism on its own is a healthy diet and is a part of a healthy lifestyle? Or maybe this is a diet, which has to be combined with something else in order a human organism could get all the necessary microelements? In other words, is it possible to limit oneself by veganism and count that it is a healthy diet?
JK: French fries in McDonald’s is a very vegan dish, but eating it does not fall into a category of a healthy lifestyle. But it is possible to make any vegan dish not only healthy but also tasty. This actually is my goal, when I work. A decision to become a vegan makes to more carefully buy food and chose restaurants. There are not many cafes, where it would be possible to pamper oneself with a vegan roll or a cake. It will also take more time to cook and plan a food. In general, a vegan ration turns out to be more healthy than a fast food, but in order to have a balanced ration while staying a vegan, it is necessary to follow a right proportion of proteins, fat, and carbohydrates during each meal, paying a special attention to proteins. The source of a protein for a vegan are beans, tofu, and also plant-based protein powders, which are available now and are easy to add to cocktails.
ER: Nowadays, it has become topical to follow a weight. People try to eat not only to maintain a healthy diet but also to lose weight. If one has to compare a veganism with other diets, like a raw food diet, a paleo diet, or a keto diet, would it be possible to say that veganism will allow losing weight?
JK: Usually, when switching to veganism people lose weight in the beginning. Afterwards, everything depends on the caloric capacity of the diet. A loss of weight could be explained by a more conscious choice of food, running along a stand with tasty smelling rolls a vegan has nothing else to do except run further. However, staying a vegan, in order to eat a healthy and nutrient-enriched food one has to work hard. Unfortunately, many young people, who make a decision to adhere to a vegan diet, neglect the basics of a balanced eating and run their health.
ER: You are a vegan cook, but you are not yourself a vegan. How do these two things go together in your life? How is it possible and does one make the other one difficult to realise?
JK: My ration is 80% vegan, but I cannot name myself a vegan, because from time to time I consume products of animal origin. For me, a vegan culinary is a challenge, a field for creativity. I have proved many times to meat eaters that it is possible to make a dish from vegetables, which would not lose its gustatory qualities to meat.
ER: There are special ingredients needed for preparation of a vegan dish. But is the special knowledge about ingredients, their combination, especially in a patisserie, needed? Could you share with the Expats in Riga magazine readers a recipe for a dinner, which would be suitable for individual cooking?
JK: Special ingredients are usually necessary when cooking a vegan patisserie, especially when it is gluten-free. In order to cook a tasty vegan dish, there is no need to bathe oneself till a tapioca starch, seeds chi, and guar gum. In a wintertime, a vegan pumpkin soup is really good. It’s in the pumpkin! Take a butternut pumpkin, cut it into large pieces, taking the seeds out, bake it with the skin at 180 °C temperature for 30 minutes. The pumpkin will become soft, with a pleasant aroma, and a bit caramelised. Take out the flesh with the spoon, cover the rest with water 1 cm higher, bring it to boil, then blend, add coconut milk (the best option for a soup is milk sold in metal cans), salt, and red pepper. Blend it again and bring to boil for the second time. Serve it with slightly fried hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds.
ER: And finally, what could you recommend to those, who have decided to become vegans? What is it better to start with? Is it difficult to cook individually and is it worth to ask for a help from an expert or maybe go to a special educational course?
JK: If you have an interest and a willingness to switch to a vegan diet, I would suggest watching videos by vegan bloggers on Youtube. There are a lot of interesting, healthy, and affordable recipes, but I would like to pay your attention one more time that your ration should be balanced, and that the protein-fat-carbohydrate formula should be taken into account in a case of any diet, which you follow. I wish you a healthy and a happy life!
ER: Thank you!
Julia’s account on instagram is zuzolija