A high percentage of Indians are vegetarians. Indian cuisines include recipes that are vegan and have roots in plant based nutrition. Our grocery carts are laden with items recommended highly in vegan blogs and cookbooks all over the world. We use spices like cumin, turmeric and coriander in our daily food that the rest of the world is waking up to. Plant based proteins and fats are already a part of our nutritional intake. What we lack is thorough understanding and awareness about the vegan food options available to fulfill our nutritional requirements. Traditional grains like Ragi, Jowar and Bajra are vegan powerhouses and are used prominently in regional Kanaddiga and Maharashtrian cuisines. Green sources of protein like Soya, Amaranth (chaulai Saag), and lotus seeds also form a part of our daily diets. Whole grains like Wheat, Brown rice also are very nutritious. Eaten with lentils, vegetables and greens; these grains make a complete meal.
Eating vegan fooddoesn’t have to be hard. These days, home cooks are seeking out simple recipes that unite hearty, satisfying taste with the perks of vegan food–it’s healthy, fresh, economical, lactose-free, ethical, and environmentally sustainable. Indian, Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Greek, and Italian cuisines are extremely vegan friendly. Until it is brought to notice, many diets all over the world use a healthy mix of whole foods to whip up delicious vegan meals.Dairy is a bit of a stumbling block, but vegan options like Almond, Soya, Coconut milk and vegan cheeses and yogurt make it relatively easy to turn vegan. The lack of awareness about the living conditions of animals on animal farms contributes to ignorance about the usage of dairy products. Unhappy and sick animals cannot produce fortifying and nutritious food for humans.
Going vegan is simply a lifestyle choice one makes, when one decides not to exploit other creatures on the earth for their own pleasure. It includes a commitment to vegan food, clothing, cosmetics and other vegan products.
Going vegan isn’t that big a deal that it is made out to be. If you look at your food choices all great things and by that I mean “a dark chocolate” is already vegan. Dig a little deeper yes those fries are vegan too. So are Oreos, popcorn with corn oil and your favorite coconut milk ice cream. Vegan lifestyle is a movement against cruelty to animals. Its proponents also talk about it multifold health benefits on the side but it does not mean that you become a bean spouting health nut (pun intended). Vegetarian Thai Red curry with brown rice, Whole Wheat Pasta with basil pesto and Artichoke hearts, Stir fried Chinese greens, Tofu skewers with peanut sauce, Burritos; do any of these dishes seem like a punishment diet, yet all of these are prepared vegan with minimal changes in ingredients (mostly dairy based high fat foods such as mayo & cheese) and almost no changes in taste.
Indians are specially blessed in this regard that they a rich and varied food culture. We can pick and choose snacks and other vegan food options with little impact on our daily life. In Fact more than 60-70% of our diets are already vegan. For example, if you were told that your rice idly and sambhar is usually cooked without ghee/curd and is absolutely Vegan as are so many other regular food & fast food preparations without Ghee/curd, would you feel going Vegan is difficult? Not Really! Right?! More and more people are moving towards avoiding ghee & cheese due to health reasons. A ghee free household is usually making almost every Indian vegetable the Vegan way! Many people who are already off-ghee & cheese find it difficult to go Vegan because they can’t think of life without curd or yoghurt. A simple curd recipe can just help get you the yoghurt delight and also help save a cow of some trouble to produce more. A visit to a local dairy & a peek into techniques of animal husbandry will let you know the reasons why we feel milk & its products are cruel and cannot nourish your life. Just imagine if we can’t compromise on our choices of taste, why should we expect animals to compromise on their life and dignity as sentient beings.
What we need is a higher awareness regarding the vegan cause and vegan options available. Being Vegan is akin to Being Human, it is not a limiting choice, on the contrary it connects you to your roots from your grandma’s times when food was real. This opens up a huge new and exciting world