For the sake of health

VEGAN MANIA

If you care for the environment and animals, being a vegetarian is not enough. A lot of people are tuning vegan from vegetarian for the sake of their own health.

Vegans do not consume any product that is derived from animals, including dairy products like meat, milk, paneer, ice creams, eggs and ghee. The list of people switching from vegetarianism to vegan include the names of celebrities such as Bollywood actor Mallika Sherawat, South Indian film actress Amala Akkineni and American actors Alicia Silvetrstone and Tobey Maguire.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the demand for dairy free vegan options is growing rapidly along with the number of people opting to go vegan. A number of vegan groups are popping up all over the country. They promote veganism and discuss alternatives to dairy products.

“Studies have shown that an overwhelming per cent of Indians are lactose-intolerant and that dairy products are harmful for the human body. After increased awareness about cruelty to animals by the dairy industry and it’s damaging impact on the environment, the demand for dairy free vegan options has been growing,” says Bhuvaneshwari Gupta, nutritionist and campaign coordinator at PETA India.

She further makes a point that going vegan is the easiest thing one can do to help animals, protect their own health and protect the health of the planet.

“Apart from saving lives of hundreds of animals, going vegan directly contributes to reducing your carbon footprint, since the meat and dairy industries are among the highest contributors of greenhouse emissions and pollution. It also reduces the risks of diseases like diabetes and cancer,” Bhuvaneshwari adds.

Benazir Suraiya, a professional, turned vegetarian and then vegan after seeing videos showing the cruelty with which animals are treated for their milk and meat.

“I was a born non-vegetarian but I turned a vegetarian after seeing chicken and goats being slaughtered. Later, I turned a vegan after seeing videos of cows, buffalos and goats being treated with cruelty for their milk. I realised that their milk is for their calves just as a woman’s milk is only for her babies,” she shares with Metrolife.

Though most food products are already vegan such as cookies, chips, breads, crackers, cereals, soups and candies, along with staples like rice, pasta, oatmeal, beans, nuts, vegetables, fruit and peanut butter, vegan options in dairy products like milk, butter, paneer and ice cream are also available.

“Milk can be replaced by soya milk, rice milk, almond milk or coconut milk. Butter can be replaced with olive oil or vegan margarine or vegan sandwich spreads. Vegetable oil or olive oil can be an option for ghee. While tofu can replace paneer, healthy fruit sorbets is an alternative for ice cream,” the PETA official says.

Recognising the demand for dairy free option, most restaurants and hotels have started keeping vegan dishes in their menu as most vegetarian food can be easily made vegan with minor and easy modifications. “Believe me it is not at all difficult to look for vegan food. Options are available even for meat in the form of soya meat. There are options available for milk also,” says Benazir.

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