Updated: Feb 22
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
This description of veganism, from The Vegan Society, is accepted globally as the best way to define the movement.
Unlike popular belief one thing is certain from the definition that Veganism is a lifestyle and not just a diet . It is termed as 'plant-based' because it's a diet that excludes all animal products . Now that it is clear to us lets take a deep dive into veganism in India .
Let us talk about the gradual dietary shift in this blog . Why do I say gradual dietary shift because transitioning is generally very hard and people leave it mid way . I will also touch upon other aspects such us clothing and makeup .
So here is the guide to become a vegan .
ASK YOURSELF 'WHY' DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A VEGAN.
Over the years one single thing has helped me tremendously during the transition and my journey s ( 4 years now) is to find the reason behind it . Firstly you need to understand the reason why you want to go vegan ,
Its all about animal rights primarily that is what veganism is all about however some people choose it for other factors such us environmental reasons . Some stick to a plant based diet for health reasons.
Nothing is right or wrong here . It's all about the reason that works great for you and keeps you motivated and going .
After you go vegan , meat and dairy will not be food for you anymore because then you will start understanding and asking questions to yourself as to why are you punishing them for our diet .
Research, Read and Revisit
The American Dietetic Association says that a vegan diet is appropriate for “all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and for athletes”.
Veganism and plant-based diet is discussed all over on the internet today, with more content being published every day. Search engines like Google/YouTube will help you tremendously while you take your small steps into this world.
I have listed few things which will help you understand veganism better .
News: Plant Based News (Worldwide)
While you are exploring veganism one thing you should keep in mind that you will find enough evidence both for and against the movement . So I suggest you that it’s extremely important to do your own research and recognize which side makes more sense to you.
I would advise you to track your nutrient intake in the first few weeks of veganism, especially if you are transitioning from non-vegetarianism directly. There are many applications in the market which will help you track even the micro nutrient . This will help you recognise the nutrients you need to consume more, and you can then find vegan options for the same.
One nutrient that needs special attention after you turn vegan is vitamin B12, which you will not get in any plant based diet . To get recommended amounts of Vitamin B12 you can go for some vegan foods or take supplements. I personally take B12 and D3 tablets. Do not let this get into your nerves and get you off the lifestyle – there are many sources that will help you understand why these vitamins can be a problem for all adults, and not just vegans.
ALWAYS START SLOW .
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of turning vegan, remember that do not try to do the transition overnight instead go slow. Give up foods slowly, pay attention to your body through the process. Remember not to judge yourself: if you end up eating non-vegan food by mistake it's a habit for long will take time , don’t feel guilty over it. Eating vegan on most days is still better than not eating vegan at all. Understanding Indian food like daal, rice, curry, and roti will help you eat vegan as they are made from mostly vegan ingredients. It’s very easy to veganise Indian food if you decide to give it a shot. Sometimes, you will not have a choice and might have to make non-vegan choices. For example, the car ride you take regularly be with a car that has leather seats. That’s okay. Do not worry about things you cannot control and try your best at a personal level – that’s most important!
Find out about substitutes Here are some of the vegan substitutes I can vouch for. There will be hundreds of others. Don’t hesitate to do your own research and find brands that work the best for you. Dairy products: Goodmylk, White cub, Sofit Meat: Good dot Leather: PETA approved brands Make-up: Plum, Body Shop, Biotique, Sugar. In terms of make-up, try to switch to cruelty-free brands initially. These are companies that do not test their products on animals. After you’ve successfully achieved that, you can focus on turning to vegan brands.
DECIDE NOT TO GIVE UP
The best advice I can give you is to remember that the first two months of veganism are the hardest. Don’t get discouraged. You will soon feel the difference in your body and soul; and if you do it right, you are likely to fall in love with the lifestyle. Remember: Every substitute might not be readily available in your city and it might take you time to get used to them. Embrace everything. Vegan products will be available in abundance as the demand continues to increase, and that will happen only when more & more people turn decide to give veganism a shot. Veganism was just a fringe moment a couple of decades ago. Today, it’s a world-known way of life. Many popular faces across the world endorse the lifestyle. Remain optimistic and do your bit! :) Here are a few more sources to help you with the transition PETA vegan starter kit: https://secure.petaindia.com/page/30570/data/1?locale=en-GB&_ga=2.36968992.1631728054.1587573060-869967125.1587573060 The Daily Dozen: https://nutritionfacts.org/daily-dozen-challenge/