A 5-day vegan investigation into Athens, Greece - an outsider's perspective

Short summary
Athens has seen a dramatic increase in the popularity and visibility of veganism within the last few years, starting in 2016 and 2017, and accelerating in 2018. As of February 2019, Athens has 12 completely vegan restaurants/cafés/eateries. Greece might be the only country in the world in which vegan cheese is available in many, if not most, supermarkets at the cheese counter. Greek food (possibly not true for northern Greek food) is often quite easily veganizable and vegan option-friendly.

Caveat lector
Don’t be offended by the random order of topics. Scroll to whatever interests you. The information listed here is given with the aim of helping vegan tourists who visit Athens, and the aim of helping the existing vegan and animal rights movement in Greece.

Public transport
Arriving from the airport:
If you arrive at the airport you can take a bus to the centre (bus X95). You will find this bus at “Arrivals” between exit 4 and exit 5. Buy a ticket in advance from the ticket vendor booth. It costs 6 Euros.
(You can also take the metro which costs 10 Euros.) The bus ride takes a little less than an hour and will leave you at Syntagma Square in the centre.

Within Athens:
If you like walking you can easily walk all over Athens, literally.
You can buy a public transport (bus/metro/tram) ticket from a ticket machine (they speak English and several other languages; they don’t scream as loudly as the ones in Istanbul) or a ticket vendor booth inside a metro station. 
- The 90-minute ticket costs 1.40 EUR.
- The 24-hour ticket costs 4.50 EUR.
- The 3-day tourist ticket costs 22.00 EUR.
So in most cases buying an individual 90-minute ticket seems to be the cheapest option.

100% vegan restaurants/cafés/eateries
Order: In no particular order
Motto: Support vegan businesses
Addresses: Check Happy Cow

Really close to the Acropolis. Maybe the most useful place for vegan tourists, just because it is so close by. They might offer you “the last piece of moussaka”.  
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes
Veganaki on Facebook

Also quite close to the Acropolis. Calm, nice, great. I would have really liked to try their raw cakes, but unfortunately I decided to get the cakes as a take-away, and I think they mixed up the raw chocolate cake with the normal chocolate cake. So I cannot comment on the raw cakes.
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes
A kind of sweet and savoury energy ball - nice!
After a bit of "shaking" in the backpack
Peas on Facebook

Vegan Beat
Smack-dab in the centre of tourist-landia. Located inside a “shops & restaurants complex”. Walk inside and look up! Look for the Vegan Beat sign. I had the “mushroom gyros” (it might have had a different name), and it was pretty good and cost only 3.50 EUR. Vegan Beat has cheap prices, so do not be confused by the undeserved “$$” category on Happy Cow.
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes (upstairs on the rooftop, ask)
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes
What it looks like when it's closed.
Vegan Beat when open:
One of the best:
Vegan Beat on Facebook

Bamboo Vegan
The first vegan store in Greece - opened in 2012. 
Located in the beautiful “anarchist quarter” of Athens (This part of town might be called Exarcheia). Bamboo vegan is a shop as well as what in England would be called a café. They have vegan versions of many popular foods. I recommend the bagel and the mango lassi.
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes

The Others
Located in the beautiful “anarchist quarter” of Athens. This brand new bar & eatery is probably my favourite food spot in Athens, just because I am not a real fan of proper restaurants, and The Others is a more like a tiny punk bar (but there’s space to sit outside) with 0% pretentiousness. I have the Tex-Mex burger and chips (French fries) and a freshly-made carrot juice. I love carrot juice … I would definitely go back there. Very friendly owner. Note: I think, smoking is allowed inside, but seating outside is available. They serve alcohol starting in the late-ish evening. They might close earlier (around 9 pm, rather than midnight) in the winter time.   
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes
No Facebook ... The Others on Happy Cow

Located in the beautiful “anarchist quarter” of Athens. Fast food take-away, no sit-in space really. But they do have some high sit outside tables and chairs. They specialize in different types of vegan “gyros”. I had the mushroom version. Young Athenians might just consider this the hippest vegan place in town. Vice Greece likes them, too. 
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes
I forgot to take a photo of the store front.
Cookoomela on Facebook

Mystic Vegan
Located in the beautiful “anarchist quarter” of Athens. More of a “proper” restaurant. I did not go inside, only because I just could not eat any more! It is unfortunate that I missed it and I am sure the food is excellent (and the people who run it are excellent). 
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
I did not go inside.
Yes, I only have this blurry photo:
Note that there is a place called "Mystic Pizza" (with the same logo design as "Mystic Vegan") on the left and "Mystic Vegan" on the right.
Mystic Vegan on Facebook

Across the street from Mystic Vegan: "Vegan Choices" available ... the veganization of the neighbourhood (hopefully).

Mama Tierra
Located on the edge of the beautiful “anarchist quarter” of Athens. More of a “proper” restaurant. Again, I did not go inside, for lack of stomach capacity.
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
I did not go in. Very friendly on Facebook.
Mama Tierra on Facebook

Not in the centre, but not too far outside either. Well worth the trip. Try the pizza. Talk to the owner/waiter and he will be happy to talk to you about the idea behind their “kafeneio”, and about the difference between a kafeneio and a restaurant. 
WIFI & toilet: I forgot to ask, quite likely yes
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes
Trivoli on Facebook

The Plant Kingdom
Not in the centre, but not very far either, and well worth the trip to southern Athens. The Plant Kingdom is run by a chef who is originally from Finland. The food here was without a doubt the best I ate in Athens. This is not “oh I’ve had this type of food before” food. This is “WHOA NICE” kind of food. However this place might be rated by anyone, it is certainly still underrated. Must visit. Before you go, do contact them beforehand (especially if it is not a Friday or Saturday)… otherwise there is a possibility that they might not be open. Also, category: “proper” restaurant.
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
Good English spoken: yes
Very friendly: yes
The photos don't do the food justice. Check them out, if in town.
A tonka bean - note that you should not eat tonka bean in VERY large amounts because tonka beans are very high in coumarin which might damage your liver. See here, here, and here. Tonka bean used in the dessert above. 
The Plant Kingdom on Facebook

Lime Bistro
Located a tiny bit outside of the centre. Somehow I did not even end up walking past this place. I am sure the food and people are excellent.
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
I did not go there. Very friendly on Facebook.

Located outside of the centre, in the south. Unfortunately I did not make it that far outside. I am sure the food and people are excellent.
WIFI: yes
Toilet: yes
I did not git there. Very friendly on Facebook.

Vegan Nation
Located in the centre, in the middle of tourist land. On two occasions people working near-by told me - using English and hand gestures - that this restaurant is permanently closed. However, the Vegan Nation Facebook site has a comment from 13 November 2018 that says Vegan Nation is temporarily closed for renovation.  
Vegan Nation on Facebook They did not reply to my question whether they will reopen. (UPDATE: Vegan Nation is permanently closed and will NOT reopen, and the location is for sale - Insider info)

Non-vegan restaurants/cafés/eateries with great vegan options

It’s a bit outside and I did not end up going there. Yi is vegan, except for honey.

I walked past there but it was not open yet. Super great location for tourists. There are two entrances. See front entrance below. The back entrance is from the street parallel to this one.
Avocado on Facebook

Utopian Garden
Located in the lovely anarchist barrio, like Bamboo Vegan, The Others, Mystic Vegan, etc. … I walked past the address several times, but could not find it. I thought it was maybe the café-like entity directly on the corner, but looking at their Facebook photos it seems to be a green and orange store front a bit to the left of that corner. This place was recommended by a local and is supposed to have several vegan options.
The one on the left with the shutters down, with the "18" in the graffiti *MIGHT* be Utopia Gardens. The one on the corner, with the red and white stripes, is also a type of café - Utopia Gardens?
Utopian Garden on Facebook

Healthy Bites
A walked past late at night. It’s next to a main street as you can see.
Healthy Bites on Facebook

Falafel House
Supposedly the best vegan falafel in Athens. The falafel was all right. Ask which options are vegan. I have a semi-emotional (irrational) reaction to flat falafel patties (like at Falafel House), rather than round falafel balls (“the way it’s supposed to be”). One of the guys was wearing a “vegan” hat, and there was a rumour (I won’t say where that came from) that Falafel House was 100% vegan, but it is not, see below.

I did not go there, but it seems to very close to Falafel House.

Other falafel places
I saw several other falafel places. I'm not sure if non-vegan falafels (for example, with egg) are common.
Ice Queen
A regular non-vegan ice cream place with – as of February 2019 – five vegan ice cream flavour. The ice cream cones are NOT vegan, they contain eggs. The dark chocolate is quite good. I think I am not really a huge ice cream fan anymore, and I only bought some because there was vegan ice cream (the vegan trap).

Picking oranges in the streets of Athens
Many streets of Athens are lined with citrus fruit trees, typically a sort of really sour orange – like an orange that is as sour as a grapefruit. They also have a lot of seeds. So they are great for making freshly-squeezed orange juice. Several people told me that these oranges are not oranges and cannot be eaten – which made me think of possible pollution from the air or from the ground, which is possible. Tastewise they totally can be eaten and especially juiced. You might also seed olive trees. I saw lots of black olives on the ground but they were all really dirty. And there are quite a few carob trees, but again the carob pods on the ground were all really dirty, and really dried up.
Carob pods

Vegan food in supermarkets

Fava bean spread
I did not look for this, but it is supposed to be widely available in supermarkets.

A popular Greek version of “Nutella”. The Merenda with the milk splash is not vegan, the other one (dark chocolate) is vegan.

In "Kritikos" supermarket:

I did not investigate cookies. The ones below (left) are widely available and are vegan.
In "Kritikos" supermarket:

The “Ion” brand has several vegan dark chocolate bars. This one is with stevia, and without sugar.
In "Kritikos" supermarket:

It seems hugely popular in Greece to add palm oil to everything, including bread. The more expensive highly packaged and highly processed bread often has English ingredients listed. The cheaper standard bread (often) only has Greek ingredients listed, but might also quite possibly be vegan.
In "Kritikos" supermarket:

I found these accidentally vegan doughnuts in a supermarket (they contain palm oil).
In "Kritikos" supermarket:

Over the counter cheese
Two brands of vegan cheese mentioned in a YouTube video were: “Evlogimeno” and “Viotrós”. I did not see Viotros. I did see one brand starting with E, but I was not able to take a photo, and I could not read the Greek letter quickly enough. I also saw the brands “Viofast” (possibly vegan), and “Koliós” (with the Vegan Society vegan logo), see below.
This is the vegan Koliós cheese with the blue label (on the left):
Sort of tastes like German "butter cheese" (if I remember right).

Plant milks
As you can see they are still quite expensive.

I wanted to try this (4 Euro) Brazil nut milk. It was OK.
This supermarket is called "Kritikos" unless I'm wrong, see other products in "Kritikos" above.

Widely available but not really cheap. The little buckets seem quite cheap, though.

Peanut butter
I did not see any without hydrogenated fats.
In "Kritikos" supermarket: 

Vegan food in bakeries
Rumour has it that most bread in Greece is vegan and that typical bakeries will have many vegan options, including the famous spinach pie without cheese, i.e. vegan spanakópita.

They had nothing vegan in this bakery. The only bread that was vegan was sold out. Note that most of the bakeries looked kind of fancy with a strong patisserie emphasis, and the usually had the words "Bakery" and "Coffee" in English outside.
I found vegan bread and friendly English-speaking staff in this bakery: Attika (see above, first picture under "Bread" with the "Attica" paper").

Chinese food shops in Athens
There is a huge China town in Athens. I did not precisely look for a Chinese food shop, but also walking past and through China town several times, I did not see a Chinese food shop.

More vegan pizza
If for some reason you do not end up going to Trivoli or Mystic Vegan, rumour has is that Artigiano (a pizza chain – I saw one close to Veganaki) has vegan pizza. They sometimes might even have vegan cheese, possibly during Lent.

Vegan cakes in Greece
Now, without looking at anyone – and I know nothing about Greece or the role of cakes in Greece – this is an easy basic vegan cake recipe: Check this recipe (look under 1b) 

Greek “Starbucks”
If I read this correctly, this chain is called something like Grigoris. They can be found almost everywhere, and they seem to have plant milks, at least sometimes.

Greek recipes
I am not in the possession of any amazing (any) Greek recipes. When I was about 14 my favourite food was possibly gyros and tzatziki – especially the latter can be easily and authentically be veganized, also for people who are not open towards trying vegan food.
I was told that Isa Chandra’s moussaka recipe is pretty good … even though everything with pine nuts does seem a bit overly bourgeois to me (personal prejudice).
I was also given a little sweet cube-shaped food (vegan), which was some type of Loukoumi (a Greek version of Turkish delights). It was called something that sounded like “sucuk [soo-chook] lukum” and I was told it’s a traditional sweet from northern Greece (I wrote “sucuk” because it sounded quite like the Turkish “sucuk”, meaning “sausage” or “sausage-shaped dried fruit roll thingy”). The traditional version might not be vegan though.

Potentially vegan traditional Greek foods (... I was told about but did not try)
- Soups: lentil soup (fakés), chickpea soup (revíthia), white bean soup (fasoláda)
- Baked big white beans (gígantes)
- Long green beans (fasolákia)
- Peas with potatoes and tomato sauce (arakás)
- Stuffed peppers/tomatoes (gemistá – Make sure they are not stuffed with minced meat!)
- Mixed oven-roasted potatoes and vegetables (briám)
- Spinach/leek pie (spanakópita – Make sure it does not have feta cheese) - I did try this in Bamboo Vegan, see above.
- Bean-based dip/spread (fáva) [like an non-chickpea hummus]
- Garlic and potato-based dip/spread (skordaliá)
- Stuffed vine leaves or cabbage leaves (ntolmadákia – Make sure there is no minced meat inside!)
- Spinach rice (spanakóryzo)

Drinking tap water
Everywhere I went I drank the tap water. I asked several people of the tap water is safe to drink, and everyone said yes.

Corn & chestnuts street vendors
Like in Turkey, there are street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and grilled corn on the cob. This might be a seasonal (winter) offer.

Speaking Greek for people who do not speak Greek
Think of Greek as a sort of Spanish with completely different words – if that helps. For the correct Greek pronunciation check out this short video by a Greek vegan.
nistísimo = excludes most animal products, but does NOT exclude honey, squids (and other cephalopods, i.e. this includes "calamari"), crabs, shrimps and some other sea animals and fish eggs … Some people also seem to not take “nistísimo” literally and might include feta cheese or other cheese in allegedly “nistísimo” dishes. However, this word is an excellent starting point for vegans to find out if something is vegan. It's probably a good idea to follow the "nistíssimo" question up with a "does it contain dairy?" question, just to make sure, because the chef or whoever prepares the food might not know the correct definition of "nistíssimo" (or might ignore it). If all else fails, like everywhere, the "I'm allergic to dairy and other animal products" can work (Thank you, Lime Bistro for the feedback!) ... Interestingly, “nistísimo” seems to literally mean “crumbling”.   
then tróo = I don't eat (with a mild English “th”)
chorís = without (with a soft German “ch”)
kréas = meat
tirí = cheese
gála = milk
galaktokomiká = dairy
avgá = eggs
méli = honey
psária = fish
thalasiná = sea animals
vútiro = butter (similar to Spanish there is no real difference in Greek – I think – between “v” and b”. A “v” does not really exist in Greek.)
laikí = weekly fruit & vegetable street market (open until around 2 pm) 

Galaktokomiá in Greek letters:
At one of the weekly fruit and vegetable street markets:

Reading the Greek alphabet
“Nistísimo” in Greek letters:
Small letters: νηστίσιμο

Reading Greek letters is not very difficult, especially if you are used to some of the from their use in mathematics/science.
I found the following list useful. 
Note, that it’s a little bit more complicated and there are some combinations of letters that are pronounced differently. But if you remember just a handful of the “misleading” letters, it can be quite useful. For example, what looks like an E (Σ) is an S. What looks like a P (Ρ) is an R, etc.

Vegan nutrition security in Greece (aka how to get all the nutrients you need)
There are ten nutrients that vegans should at least have heard of. All vegans should take vitamin B12 supplements (or eat vitamin B12 fortified foods daily). For references and more info see my vegan nutrition recommendations

I do not know which of the following food sources are commonly available in Greece.

The following are recommendations for optimized vegan nutrient intake. If you do not care too much about optimizing your diet, do AT LEAST TAKE A VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT.

1) Vitamin B12
Take a supplement daily: 10–200 µg per day
Get 2–5 µg twice per day from fortified foods. Or get 2000–2500 µg from a supplement that you take once per week.

2) Calcium
I did not see many, easy, common, cheap, vegan calcium sources. Vegans in Greece (and everywhere else) should pay some attention to consuming enough calcium.
Good vegan sources of calcium (recommendations per day, choose one or more options):
- 1 glass of calcium fortified plant milk (for example soya milk; the label should state that it contains 120 mg of calcium per 100 ml – just like cow’s milk) 
- other calcium fortified foods
- 1 to 2 cups (200–400 g) of cooked dark green leafy vegetables, like:
- pak choi (bok choy)
- kale
- Collard greens/Spring greens
- broccoli raab
- turnip greens
- mustard greens
- broccoli (23,28,31)
- dandelion greens
- nettles
- Napa cabbage
(Spinach and chard are not good calcium sources, because the bioavailability is low.)
- 2 to 3 cups (400–500 g) of raw Napa cabbage
- 1 cup (~200 g) of tofu made with calcium (see ingredients; often calcium sulphate is used)
- calcium rich water/mineral water which should provide at least 300 mg calcium per day – check the label 
- ½ cup (~100 g) of dried figs + 3 oranges

3) Vitamin D
- 15–30 minutes of sunshine every day – or more sun less often. Avoid sunburn!
Take a supplement: ~25 µg (~1000 IU) vitamin D per day. But do NOT avoid sunshine completely. Sunshine very probably has other health benefits, not just the stimulation of vitamin D production in your skin.

4) Iodine
Choose one of the following options:
- 100–200 µg per day from a supplement
- seaweed like nori or wakame, several times per week
- iodized salt (1 teaspoon contains 40–240 µg of iodine – check the label). Avoid excessive salt intake.

5) Omega-3 fatty acids
Choose one of these options every day. The following recommendations are for men – who generally consume more calories. For women a little less is enough.

- ~10 walnuts (=20 walnut halves; ~40 g) 
- 1–2 teaspoons of linseed oil
- 2 tablespoons of ground linseeds
- 1–2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 1–2 tablespoons of hemp seed oil
- ¼ cup of hemp seeds, or 1–2 tablespoons of shelled hemp seeds   
- 2–3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil (canola oil)

6) Iron
Eat legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soya products such as soya milk, tofu and tempeh).
Additional tips:
- Consuming vitamin C at the same time as iron rich foods increases the absorption of iron from plant sources.
- Drinking coffee or tea with meals lowers the absorption of iron.

7) Zinc  
Eat legumes, nuts and seeds.

8) Selenium (optional)
- 1–2 Brazil nuts per day
- 50–60 µg of selenium per day, from a supplement (selenomethionine) (for example “Veg 1” by the Vegan Society in the UK)

9) Vitamin A
Great beta-carotene (= provitamin A) sources are: cooked carrots, carrot juice, pumpkin, orange coloured sweet potatoes, any dark green leafy vegetable – and (containing lower amounts) orange coloured fruits like mangoes and papayas as well as red bell peppers.

10) Protein  
Eat legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Vegan and animal rights-related books in Greek
I did not investigate veganism or animal rights-related books in Greek and/or by Greek authors. But I saw these translations from across the big pond.

Vegan and animal rights-related graffiti
I'm not really sure what the meaning of this is ... something like "everything to be free" (?)
Accidentally animal rights

The portrayal of non-human animals

Scientific studies with vegans in Greece
I could not find any studies with vegans in Greece, i.e. there probably are none. However, an article from 2018 about adequate nutrition during pregnancy, whose authors are from the Agia Sofia Children's Hospital (Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics) in Athens, and the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens (Laboratory of Pharm. Analysis, Department of Pharmacy) does mention the possibility of a vegan pregnancy (Manta-Vogli et al. 2018). This can be useful to vegans in Greece because they can refer to this expert source in case they meet with resistance from family of medical doctors against vegan diets in pregnancy.

The article makes pretty basic statements: “Ensuring optimal nutrition strategies for pregnant women is essential, for normal pregnancies and special groups (e.g. vegan–vegetarian).
Specific dietary counseling should be given to vegan–vegetarians groups […] to support their different needs throughout pregnancy.
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), “well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy”, that is in accordance with a statement shared by the Canadian Dietary Association [85]. Considering those who choose vegan–vegetarian diets without financial constraints, the available data support the safety of vegan–vegetarian diets in pregnancy, provided attention is paid for the main determinants of the diet, including calories, proteins and the distribution of macronutrients, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin D intake, mainly in the first and last trimester of pregnancy […].” (Manta-Vogli et al. 2018)

I agree with these statements. Vegans should pay attention to several nutrients, and especially so during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, in childhood and adolescence. See my vegan nutrition recommendations.

Fur shops
Fur seems to be relatively widely available, but I do not know how this compares to other countries at the moment.
Just next to Vegan Beat. My brain was a bit confused by the Spanish at first.

Religion in Greece
- There is no legal separation between the State and the Church in Greece. According to the Greek Constitution the prevailing religion in Greece is the religion of the Eastern Orthodox Church (European Commission 2019).
- In Greece property used solely for religious purposes remains exempt from taxation and municipal fees for groups classified as “known religions”. The law prohibits discrimination and criminalizes hate speech on the grounds of religion. Individuals or legal entities convicted of incitement to violence, discrimination, or hatred on the basis of religion, among other factors, may be sentenced to prison terms of between three months and three years, and fined 5,000 to 20,000 euros. Violators motivated by religion convicted of other crimes may be sentenced to an additional six months to three years, with fines doubled. Interestingly, the same [?] law criminalizes approval, trivialization, or malicious denial of the Holocaust and “crimes of Nazism” if that behavior leads to incitement of violence or hatred, or has a threatening or abusive nature towards groups of individuals (United States Department of State 2015).

Recycling does exist. In the streets I saw big grey (unpainted “metal coloured”) bins with blue lids for “normal rubbish”, and all blue big bins for recycling of all kinds of packaging, including plastics, tetra bricks, cans, etc. – not glass. There are separate glass recycling containers, and I also saw a compost container, but the latter seem to be rare.

The traffic seems nowhere near as crazy as in Istanbul, or – GASP – Rome. Drivers will not stop at zebra crossings unless you (or a big group of people) force them to. My opinion: Do teach them a lesson in pedestrian rights, but do so cautiously without endangering your life or physical integrity.

I did not pay much attention to drugs, but I did see someone with a needle in his arm right in the middle of a public square. But you can probably witness this kind of scene in pretty much any larger town in Europe if you walk all around town all day, every day. It is not called the opioid crisis for nothing. For many people the opium of the people (religion) – widely consumed in Greece – just doesn’t work. I was also offered to buy (presumably) marihuana, always in places where there was a gathering of a small group of slightly haunted looking young men.   

Dangerous places in Athens
I did not notice anything that seemed dangerous. Even though, clambering up the hills and through the shrubbery of Kesariani Vyrona Forest, east of Athens, it suddenly came to me that there might be poisonous snakes. And there might be, but apparently not so much so in the winter.

Air pollution in Athens
Air pollution data from the centre of Athens is not available (I don't have it). But air pollution at Pireas, on the coast, is quite high:

Meat consumption in Greece (per person, per year) (FAOSTAT 2019)

Poultry meat use in Greece and various Western European countries

Total meat use in Greece and various western European countries (land animals only)

Amounts of different types of meat (land animals) consumed in Greece (in kilograms per person per year)

Amounts of fish and seafood (water animals) consumed in Greece (in kilograms per person per year)

Numbers of land animals slaughtered in Greece (per year) (FAOSTAT 2019)

Numbers of beef cattle (excluding milk cattle) slaughtered in Greece (per year)

Numbers of pigs slaughtered in Greece (per year)

Numbers of goats slaughtered in Greece (per year)

Numbers of sheep slaughtered in Greece (per year)

Numbers of rabbits slaughtered in Greece (per year) (1000 head = multiply numbers by 1000)

Numbers of ducks slaughtered in Greece (per year) (1000 head = multiply numbers by 1000)

Numbers of turkeys slaughtered in Greece (per year) (1000 head = multiply numbers by 1000)

Numbers of broiler chickens (excluding laying hens and male one-day chicks) slaughtered in Greece (per year) (1000 head = multiply numbers by 1000)

Absolute numbers of land animals killed for food in Greece (per year; data from 2017) (FAOSTAT 2019)
Number of land animals killed for food in Greece per year (2017)
Broiler chickens
Laying hens
Meat sheep
Milk sheep
Milk goats
Meat goats
Beef cattle
Milk cattle
Geese and guinea fowl
Meat buffaloes
Milk buffaloes

Obesity in Greece
- Around 25% of the adult population (18+ years) in Greece are obese (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2; data from 2016, WHO 2019). 
- Around 62% of the adult population (18+ years) in Greece are overweight (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2; data from 2016, WHO 2019).

Leading risk factors for an earlier death (Greece, general population, data from 2017, Lancet Global Burden of Disease 2019)
This also indicates the great potential of healthy plant-based diets for disease prevention.
Note that abolishing large-scale animal production (factory farming; producing large amounts of meat, eggs, and dairy) would likely also greatly contribute lowering air pollution (listed here as “ambient particulate matter” and “ozone”).

I added the green and red dots.
Green dot = This can typically be improved by a healthy vegan diet.
Red dot = Vegans, more so than the general population, should pay attention to consume enough of this nutrient.

Cardiovascular disease in Greece
Cardiovascular disease means disease of the arteries, most often caused by atherosclerosis. This often leads to heart attack or stroke or arterial blockages in other parts of the body (such as the legs).

Greece is one of the European Union member states that top the list of deaths due to ischemic heart disease and stroke, a fact that is mainly attributed to unfavorable changes in modifiable risk factors. […] According to studies conducted during the last two decades, the prevalence of arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, and obesity remained relatively stable or increased. The decrease in the prevalence of active smokers and the increase in physical activity, during the last few years, are the main favorable risk modifications in the Greek population. Nevertheless, citizens of Greece seem to gradually adopt unhealthy dietary habits by moving away from Mediterranean diet, as issue that is intensified after the outbreak of the Greek debt crisis. Furthermore, the inability of some patients to afford their medications and the possible health care deficiencies as well as the increasing prevalence of depression may make the situation even worse. During the financial crisis, CVD mortality seems to have remained unaffected, but there is evidence that the incidence of cardiovascular events is increasing. More effort is needed to control established and emerging CVD risk factors among the Greek population.” (Michas et al. 2018)
See the modifiable risk factors above – the list with the green and red dots.

Dementia in Greece
“Our results are consistent with previous research in Southern European countries; dementia prevalence in Greece is in the lower range of what has been reported globally.” (Kosmidis et al. 2018)
Dementia is related to inflammation in the body. A healthy plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle can probably lower the risk of dementia.

The "typical Greek diet"
I do not know too much about the average Greek diet.
One study showed that the Greek diet is traditionally low in soya (SURPRISE!) but relatively high in a group of phytochemicals called lignans (Peeters et al. 2007).

One study found that about 20 to 40% of the population might consume suboptimal amounts of calcium:
“The present study showed that more than 50% of children, adults and elderly women were failing to consume the recommended portions of vegetables, dairy and grains. [It is not necessary to consume dairy products at all. But we need to get enough calcium. See my vegan nutrition recommendations.
18.2%-44.1% and 4.2%-7.0% of the populations under study were not meeting calcium and vitamin C intake recommendations, although they were consuming the recommended portions of dairy and fruits, respectively. In conclusion, these findings highlight the importance for public health policy makers to take all necessary initiatives to support the population in achieving the recommended intakes […], but also emphasize on food variety to ensure adequate intake for all micronutrients.” (Manios et al. 2015)

Greek Orthodox Christian fasting practices
“Christian Orthodox fasting (COF), a periodical vegetarian subset of the Mediterranean diet, has been proven to exert beneficial effects on human health. Athonian fasting is a pescetarian COF variation, where red meat is strictly restricted throughout the year.” (Karras et al. 2019)  

Plant-based diets use less water
A study in a number of cities around the Mediterranean unsurprisingly found that plant-based diets use less water:
“[…] water footprint (WF) […]
[A] healthy Mediterranean diet including meat [low-meat diet], leads to WF [= water use] reductions of
-19% to -43%. The second diet scenario (pesco-vegetarian), leads to WF reductions of -28% to -52%. The third diet scenario (vegetarian), leads to WF reductions of -30% to -53%. In other words, if urban citizens want to save water, they need to look at their diets [and adopt an eco-friendly plant-based diet].” (Vanham et al. 2016)

“HEALTHY MEAT” = low-meat traditional Mediterranean diet
“HEALTHY PESCO VEG” = healthy pescatarian diet
“HEALTHY VEG” = healthy lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet

The end
Everyone makes mistakes. If you spot any wrong or outdated or offensive information, do let me know. Peer review is sorely lacking (my opinion) in the vegan and animal rights communities. There is a big difference between ego-/emotion-/ideology-based bullying and well-thought-out rational, polite criticism. And criticism is necessary for making improvements – and these are necessary to accelerate progress.