When we talk about vegan diets, feelings often run high. Those for argue for animal welfare and the environment, while those against argue that cows give milk and chickens lay eggs anyway and that a meatless diet is unhealthy. ENNEATECH is committed to keeping its ecological footprint as small as possible, which is why we as a team are particularly interested in environmental issues. For that reason we decided to hold an event to help us find out how sustainability can be pursued outside of environmentally conscious commerce – for example, in vegan cooking.
Our invitation to the cooking course triggered varied reactions. Some staff members were interested and looked forward to it, while others were sceptical and reserved. However, most of them were open to attending it.
On 14 June, the time had come: Enikö Ore-Mousavi, nutritionist and passionate cook, opened the doors to the Orient for our team. She whisked us away for an evening into Persian culture and introduced us to vegan cooking. But before we could fill our growling stomachs, she first fed us with information:
15,000 litres of water and 12 kilos of CO2
That’s how much water is needed and how much CO2 is released to produce just 1 kg of beef. By comparison, potatoes release about 0.6 kg of CO2 and need 250 litres of water per kilogram. While these figures are only one factor in the carbon footprint of animal vs plant production, they speak a clear language and pose a convincing argument to rethink consumption.
It’s clear that each diet has its pros and cons. Responding to the concerns that some participants expressed regarding nutrient deficiencies if animal products were banished from the diet, Stephanie Duchna reports that “Eni impressively dispelled our objection that this type of diet leads to deficiency symptoms. Of course, some points have to be taken into account, but the plant-based diet can definitely be healthy and balanced.”
Following this detour into facts and figures, we were divided into teams, each of which was responsible for one dish. The menu included both melodious and exotic names, such as ‘Borani’, ‘Kashk‑o Bademjan’, ‘Khoreshte Karafs’, and ‘Shole Zard’. Once the preparation was done, we had a spinach and yoghurt dip with turmeric and silken tofu, an aubergine dish decorated with mint and walnuts, and a casserole with celery, shredded soya chunks, dried lime, rose peppers and cinnamon.
«The cooking event showed us the benefits of a plant-based diet and introduced us to alternative foods. It was also pleasant that after a long phase of working at a distance, we were once again able to enjoy a shared experience with our colleagues. Everyone was happy about that.»
Artur Lange, Head of Operations
Then it was down to business – with plenty of fresh ingredients
We sizzled, braised, baked and artfully draped the delicacies on the plates in a room that had filled up with wonderful aromas. The colours were bright, the visuals appealing, the tastes intense, the smells enticing and the food varied – a pleasure for body and soul. The feedback was just as positive. Course participant Artur Lange: “The cooking event showed us the benefits of a plant-based diet and introduced us to alternative foods. It was also pleasant that after a long phase of working at a distance, we were once again able to enjoy a shared experience with our colleagues. Everyone was happy about that.”
In any case, the dishes were a culinary experience. With a little imagination and the right spices, delicious and healthy vegan dishes can certainly be conjured up. Even die-hard carnivores were convinced of that at the cooking event – and that vegan nutrition doesn’t have to be boring in any way. After all, what used to be considered a fringe diet is now enjoying increasing popularity. What will stay with us from the evening? The memory of intense tastes and smells, of fascinating spices and the recipes to try out that whet our appetite for more vegan food.