Image courtesy Vegan Bites
To tip our hats to World Vegan Day (1st November) and celebrate Vegan Month, here’s all the skinny on the health benefits of Veganism
What is veganism?
Veganism is similar to vegetarianism, but whereas the latter is about excluding meats, the former goes a step further and also excludes dairy and dairy products. Veganism is not just about the food you eat. It is about the way you live. It is about being kind to yourself by eating healthier, and about being kind to animals by refusing to eat meat or any animal products and byproducts. This includes dairy and dairy products. A third dimension to veganism is refusing to wear leather and other animal skins as clothing or footwear.
What’s the concept behind veganism?
Why vegans choose not to eat meats is obvious – meat is the result of killing animals, birds and fish. Why vegans choose not to wear animal skins is obvious too – it also means killing animals. But what about dairy? We don’t kill cows to get milk, do we?
Agreed. We don’t kill cows for milk. But often, cows are kept in cruel conditions through their lifetimes. And since it is impossible for us to keep track of which farm our packaged milk comes from and what the conditions are in which the animals are kept, vegans shirk dairy altogether. So no milk and milk products equals no possibility of animal cruelty.
Is veganism a healthy option?
Undoubtedly. Switching to veganism does not result in being shortchanged on nutrients. There are alternative, kinder ways to get your dosage of calcium and protein instead of from milk, meat and eggs. Milk can be substituted with coconut milk, cashew milk and soya milk. Alternatives for meat include tofu and soya.
Is vegan food tasty?
Being vegan does not mean compromising on taste. Just because you refuse to harm animals does not mean you have to forego enjoyment of food. Nor does it mean giving up certain foods. Cheese made of cow’s milk is out, but that does not mean cheese made of coconut milk cannot be had! And did you know Oreos biscuits are Vegan? Hide’n’Seek biscuits too! No kidding! Being vegan doesn’t mean no desserts and no fun. You can make some delicious vegan cupcakes if you wished to!
It being vegan practical?
Logistically, it is not that difficult to live the vegan way. There are several ways to substitute dairy and meats. In a country that embraces vegetarianism, veganism is not that much of a stretch. Especially in a city like Mumbai. We may not have vegan restaurants abounding but we do already have restaurants that cater to Jains so it is just a matter of explaining what the food criteria are for being vegan. Restaurants can then cook you your meal as per your vegan parameters.
As for attire, saying ‘no’ to leather, fur and other animal skins is easy. If you like the look of it, faux is the way to go!
Is it easy to adopt veganism?
It depends on your constitution and personality. It depends on how passionate you are about adopting veganism as your lifestyle. Because that is what it is – a lifestyle overhaul. How much of veganism you want to adopt into your lifestyle is your choice.
What are the benefits of being vegan?
o Since you will be eating healthier, you will have a bigger store of energy
o You can say goodbye to constant sluggishness
o Toxins in your system will reduce, making your system cleaner and more efficient
o Your skin stands to improve
o You may well lose a fair amount of weight from eating healthier
o Your good karma will shoot up like crazy from the kindness you are doing on a daily basis
Are there any famous vegans?
There sure are! Jennifer Lopez turned to veganism to improve her health and happened to lose some weight too. Anne Hathaway is another actress who opted for a vegan lifestyle. Bryan Adams, Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia De Rossi and many other celebrities have chosen veganism because of their love for animals.
Want to raise awareness about veganism and its benefits? How about starting a campaign to fundraise for an animal shelter while spreading the good word?!