Veganism and Indians|Is it easy for Indians to adopt vegan diet?

Veganism and Indians|Is it easy for Indians to adopt vegan diet?

From being a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian to becoming a vegan is not like a snap of fingers. It needs much more.

What are the advanatages and disadvantages of becoming a vegan?

Meals need to be carefully planned for a vegan, whereas it is not so in the case of vegetarians.

People have adopted a new system for their diet. Earlier we used to talk about vegetarians and non-vegetarians and the switching of diets between these 2 categories. The journey from being a non-vegetarian to a vegetarian or vice-versa (rarely) is not a tough one. However with the advent of veganism in the past few years, the journey does seem difficult though not impossible.

What is a vegan diet? We all know about the simple terms vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Let us see what a vegan diet is and what are the consequences of being a vegan? Vegan diet means complete absence of animal and animal based food and this includes milk as well.

Can Indians stick to veganism? This is a big question. If we go by the experts’ advices on veganism, we can stick to veganism and enjoy the benefits on health. But if the steps to being a vegan are not followed correctly, there can be disadvantages, too.

Excluding dairy, eggs and meat can also be quite a tough task for people. Indians are in the habit of having milk in the morning, in the form of plain milk and even in the daily cup of tea. Then the meals have a lot of products like paneer, ghee and curd. Giving up all these can become quite a pain for those who have been regularly consuming these animal based products.

Indian food menus need ghee, paneer and milk to a great extent. You can try and give up on your ghee on the daily chapati diet but giving up milk altogether can be quite difficult. Switching to soya milk or almond milk can be very expensive. Even the substitute of regular paneer which is tofu is either not easily available or it is an expensive affair. What about the nutrition that is provided by milk? Can a complete plant based diet provide that?

The point is that travelling from vegetarianism to veganism is a long journey and by the time one adjusts to the ups and downs, health does suffer. However, a vegan diet can protect against cancer and diabetes (type-2) under proper medical consultation.

As per a nutrition expert, a book points out that the vegan diet has been suspected to lead to deficiencies of a number of essential nutrients including high biological protein, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, fatty acids, zinc, iodine and iron. Vegans can counter some of these deficiencies by adding more lentils, soy, whole grains, veggies like cabbage, and even sea vegetables like seaweed but vitamin B12, fatty acids, iodine and iron may be more difficult to find in vegan foods.

I also came across a news source that gave tips on better vegan lifestyle. Let us take a look at those tips here:

  • Don’t expect the transition to be sudden. It will take time, patience and caution, so adjust your expectations about weight loss or other benefits accordingly.
  • Consult a doctor and a nutritionist before making the shift so that you can discuss dietary supplements to avoid any nutritional deficiencies.
  • Explore your local market to understand where and how you can get the most nutritious plant-based foods. Don’t shy away from trying out new foods like seaweed, nutritional yeast and fermented plant foods. Try buying organic foods to avoid pesticides in plant-based foods.
  • Focus on home-cooked meals and making your vegan recipes tasty, because compromising on taste buds is one way to ensure that you won’t be able to sustain your diet for long. Try traditional Indian vegan recipes as well as those from around the world.
  • While eating out, call ahead or have a proper conversation with the chef or manager about avoiding foods like ghee, cream, cheese and others unless they are plant-based. 

I am not against veganism, but one must take proper advice before switching to veganism.

(with inputs from firstpost)

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