Reto Frei is the co-founder of the fantastic tibits restaurant, tucked away by Regent Street in London. Over the past few years, Frei has observed a huge increase in the popularity of veggie food among men.
“We have noticed in the past two years that more and more men are discovering the benefits of a vegetarian or vegan meal,” Frei tells FS. “The number of male guests at tibits has significantly increased – by about 40% since opening in London [in 2008] – and the vegetarian or vegan diet appears to have become more masculine.”
Frei has been keen to reach out to men who have traditionally favoured meat, in addition to new vegan dishes for those avoiding dairy products.
“We have tailored our menu more, and introduced man-friendly dishes, like burgers, Currywurst, skewers and even vegetarian spare ribs,” he says. “I often get asked by our guests, ‘Where do you get your protein from if you go veggie or vegan?’
“The strongest man in Germany is a vegan. And the biggest and strongest animal on earth, the elephant, is a vegan, too. It’s a myth that you don’t get enough proteins from a veggie or vegan diet.”
What specifically, can plug the gap usually filled by meat like chicken or fish after a workout, though?
“Particularly protein-rich foods include tempeh [fermented soya], tofu, peas, lentils, chickpeas and nuts. Seitan [based on wheat] is also very protein-rich,
and contains even more protein than most meat, but with the benefit of being low in fat.”
Frei has clear advice for people who are considering alternatives to meat.
“Forget what you have previously thought about vegetarian food. Come to tibits and give it a try, you will be surprised. 80% of our guests are carnivores, and visit us because they love the taste and variety.”
Like the sound of Frei's food? Check out his vegan quinoa and potato burger recipe