Across Bengaluru, people are wilfully modifying their palates in a bid to push cruelty off their plate. Veganism or the practice of adopting a lifestyle that excludes the consumption of and other products derived from animals such as meat, dairy, honey, beeswax, silk and leather is gaining ground fast.
There is a much larger vegan community in the city than there was four years ago says Saigowri Kuruvada, a yoga instructor who turned vegan four years ago. “When I first made the decision to turn vegan, I was clueless and had no one to talk to in the city about it. Most of my information came from the internet. But that didn’t quite help me because it wasn’t catered to my city,” she says.
While today you’ll find plant-based milk in most mainstream supermarkets, five years ago it was a miracle to find even one or two supermarkets carrying vegan alternatives in the city. “The vegan culture in Bengaluru has come a long way, we have a strong community now and many vegan entrepreneurs have come up over the years,” Gowri adds.
Over the last couple of years, several communities have been set up both online and offline. ‘Bengaluru Vegans’, ‘Plant-Based Community’, ‘Vegans in Bangalore’, are among some who’ve taken the initiative to spread awareness about the lifestyle and educate people on everything there is to do with veganism.
Sruti Sundharesan, a member of the ‘Plant Based Community’ says, “Irrespective of how long you’ve been vegan, there’s always room to learn more. We discuss everything vegan in our community, from sourcing supplements to dealing with old leather goods. It is an open space for all.” As the community was recently founded, most of its activities have been limited to the internet. “We look forward to doing more offline activities as the world shifts back to normalcy,” adds Sruti.
“A community like this can be extremely beneficial for someone who is just starting out with the vegan lifestyle. I wish when I was starting out similar communities existed to guide my journey. Luckily today, there are local brands making vegan alternatives and we even have fully vegan Sunday brunches organised by the team at Be Animal,” she says.
Be Animal is one of the few vegan hostels in the country, the first of its kind in Bengaluru. Lakshman Badami and Vanessa Zwick, owners of the hostel started hosting vegan brunches almost five months ago, “We wanted to show people what vegan food is truly like and break the myth that it was all bland and tasteless food. We set ourselves a challenge that no food item would be repeated in any of the brunches and we’ve stuck with it so far. For 22 weeks now, not a single item has been repeated,” explains Lakshman.
Approximately 20-25 people dine on Vanessa’s meticulously curated vegan menu at Be Animal every Sunday for brunch.
The hostel team also organises various activities like meditation, ecstatic dancing and vegan workshops to accompany the brunch. Similarly, various potlucks and meetups are hosted by the community ‘Bengaluru Vegans’ every month.
City-based vegan influencers
Susmitha Subbaraju (@veganosaurus) – For a vegan transitioning guide.
Samyuta Kartik (@yume.culinary )– For vegan recipes and cooking classes.
Roshni Sangvi (@roshnisanghvi) – For information on vegan nutrition and transformation.
Aashti Sindhu (@thatveganpilot) – For holistic nutrition and fitness tips.
Budding vegan businesses in city
Dessert and baked goods: Dittoo, Moody Baker and Puddu Cakes
Cheese alternatives: Live Yum, Angelo and Millie’s
Vegan Markets: The Kind Fest and Vegan Dukan