For World Vegan Month, The Vegan Review is sharing the stories of vegans from 30 countries around the world. Here’s one from France.
Lorena Gaudenzi, 27, vegan cook and marketing expert from France.
She switched to a plant-based lifestyle aged 24. The French word for ‘vegan’, she says, is ‘végétalien’.
Why did you go vegan?
I went vegan because I love animals. I was vegetarian first. But it was also for the lifestyle, to be honest, and everything that includes, such as sport, fitness and being healthy.
What was the biggest challenge when you transitioned?
The biggest challenge for me? It was not being able to eat any cheese. That was kind of complicated, at first.
What was the reaction of your loved ones when you went plant-based? How did they adapt?
My mom was okay, my boyfriend is cool with it and my sisters too, because they are vegetarian. It was a bit harder for my father, as he doesn’t really understand it. My mom has adapted a lot, as she cooks for me once a week and even eats vegan herself sometimes.
Who are your influences?
I’d say vegan fitness influencers like Scott Bernard.
What’s your favourite thing to cook now? Have you tried to veganise a local traditional dish?
My favourite thing to cook is rice with lemon, spices, tomatoes and olive oil. Also, I really like vegan pizza.
I veganise traditional french dishes all the time, and nothing has gone too far wrong yet.
What vegan product do you wish your country had available?
I wish France had more vegan cheese. I can make one as a chef, but I like to buy it too sometimes.
How accessible and affordable are vegan products in your country?
In France, the availability is okay, but unfortunately, it costs a lot of money to get vegan products. Even fruits and vegetables are expensive.
What’s your favourite spot for vegan food in your city?
What is the one city you’d like to visit as a vegan?
As a vegan, I’m sure Lebanon is great, because there are so many alternatives available there, but I think the best would be somewhere in Asia, like Thailand or Vietnam. Also Bali, for the fruits!
What’s the biggest roadblock to veganism in your country?
The biggest roadblock here is the people, because, in France, they are not so open-minded about the vegan diet.