Sara Nocco, a PhD at the University of Salento, describes herself simply with an adjective “hyperactive”. And indeed, there are so many things she occupies herself with, but the one that stands out is the passion for the promotion of healthy eating and vegan lifestyle.
She is the coordinator of a local community that unites thousands of people. She has met many fantastic local groups and associations with whom she has started various collaborations to try to make this world a better place. With “LecceVegan”, the foundation that she leads from its very beginning, they have managed to make Salento one of the most important European vegan communities.
So, we asked her to tell us something more about her passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle combined with a vegan diet.
Sara, is it true that a vegan diet gives more energy?
A plant-based diet can provide all the necessary nutrients and vitamins, with the difference of the “lightness” of the food and the better and faster digestion. Surely this type of diet is extremely energetic, only if conducted in a correct and informed way, I would like to emphasize this. There are lots of vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, that are rich in nutritional properties and with a high energy value. Certainly, since I’ve become vegan, I do not lack energy. There are people who jokingly define me ‘’wonder woman’’, for all the things I do, sometimes I wonder about myself the same way for what I am capable of. If this is not energy, what else?
Is vegan a consumer like everyone else?
I would say no, vegans are usually more attentive and informed consumers. They think about the ethics of products and food, of their sustainability and healthiness. They try to understand, to dig, to discover. They are attentive to what they eat, they support the rediscovery of past agricultural traditions, zero km food, fair trade, seasonality, local territory and animal and vegetal biodiversity.
How important are legumes and cereals in your weekly diet?
I must say that they both are pretty important. To touch on an important topic for those who are not vegan, combining legumes and cereals together creates the right “interlocking” between amino acids in order to provide the right protein intake. In fact, the issue of protein is the least concern of a vegan. A healthy, varied and balanced vegan diet is suitable for all stages of life and this is now recognized also by a large part of the scientific community.
What do you think of our soups and purees ‘’Le Biodiverse’’? Could they also be an ideal meal for those on a vegan diet?
Yes, absolutely, not only there are no animal – derived ingredients, but also they are based on a beautiful project: defend and valorise the territory by collaborating with young farmers who have chosen to return to the land to promote a new, healthy and participatory model of development. Pralina definitely has made a responsible choice related to the land and territory, the genuineness, re-discovery of the legumes and ancient cereals, also related to a right taste. I am obviously referring to the “Trace the Good(nes)s” project that the company carries out with a controlled supply chain. It’s a great example of social investment, a choice related to biodiversity declined in various aspects. These all are elements that careful vegans notice, consider and appreciate.
How was the ‘’LecceVegan’’ group born? Please tell us more about this initiative.
The group was born almost six years ago from a collective dream, that of a more ethical world and thanks to the union of an increasing number of people interested in such topics as ethics, food sustainability and a correct lifestyle. At the time, vegans were practically unknown to most people, considered as incomprehensible aliens, and it was difficult to find something suitable in the supermarket.
Right from the beginning, and this has distinguished us and continues to distinguish us from most of the other (always and in any case very important) national vegan movements, we have decided not to stop at mere social networks, but we have descended into reality through various types of events that have actually connected people with each other by creating real bonds. The virtual environment is the “place” where we have started from, but we know that to make an impact we have to leave the social networks. Therefore, I invite everyone to follow our Facebook group, you will meet wonderful people who passionately pursue a common dream. Each of us has created ‘’LecceVegan’’, this community, so each of us is ‘’LecceVegan’’.