Written by Shubhangi Shah
“If (Mahatma) Gandhi were alive today, he would probably be a vegetarian,” said Dr. Kiran Ahuja, a vegan food and nutrition expert at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.
Ahuja was referring to Gandhi’s book, The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, in which he wrote, “In my opinion, there are certain defects in the consumption of milk or meat. If you want to get meat, you have to kill. And we certainly don’t have any milk other than breast milk in childhood. “However, in a previous paragraph, Gandhi described being terribly ill with diarrhea.” I was turned into a skeleton, but I stubbornly refused to drink milk or buttermilk, “he wrote. However, as soon as he drank goat’s milk, “it seemed to bring me new life.” Appearing to sue for veganism, Gandhi wrote: When providing the necessary materials obtained from, free from their defects, ethical and other. “
It turns out that most of us like Gandhi’s veganism. It seems clear in theory but difficult in practice. The reason for the vegan diet is because it comes as a restriction (since you can’t eat animals and their products) and it can be hard to follow. But Dr. Ahuja thinks otherwise. “Vegan is an ancient Indian custom (sic),” he said, citing the Brokpa tribe of Ladakh, who have been vegan for centuries. Sadly, the tribe is moving towards an alternative diet consisting of dairy, eggs and meat. It is blamed on climate change, which causes summers and winters to warm up, damages traditional crops and attracts pests.
Due to the growing awareness of health and environment, vegetarian food is becoming more and more mainstream from fringe. “It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer,” said Ms Venkataraman, a clinical nutritionist and founder of ‘Sweet Diet’. Not only sound health but his alertness and dedication too are most required. “It produces less greenhouse gas emissions, is less energy-intensive and has a much smaller environmental footprint,” said Neha Pathania, a dietitian at Pars Hospital in Gurugram.
About 39% of India’s population is vegetarian, according to Pew Research, a US think tank. However, dairy foods are inherent in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. Although eating meat is considered cruel in some quarters, it is not believed in the case of dairy foods. Dr. Ahuja of PETA India, however, paints a different picture. “Once upon a time there was a family-run farm. But today, most cows and buffaloes are raised on crowded farms or factory farms where they are treated like milk producing machines, ”he says. Describing the effectiveness of the dairy industry, he said that cows or buffaloes, like humans, have recently given birth to produce milk.
“So, they are impregnated raw and artificially by workers who either grab the struggling animals or keep them in restraint and shake their arms and rods with semen in their vaginas,” she adds.
Once their milk production is reduced, they end up in the butcher’s stall or on the street. The fate of male calves is also not good. “Since they cannot be raised for milk, they are either sold as beef or sold on the street,” said Dr. Ahuja. Therefore, dairy farms cause unacceptable and inevitable pain and suffering for cows, buffaloes and their calves, he added.
Whether it’s for health, ethical or environmental reasons, there are some things you need to know before switching to a vegetarian diet. Initially, it was a strict plant-based diet without any animal or animal-based products. Nutritionist Venkataraman says it is “nutritionally adequate” when well-planned, in keeping with popular belief. The key here is to plan accordingly to the individual’s needs and the stage of his life cycle. Obviously, a vegetarian diet for a pregnant woman will be different from a baby or adult, he added.
So, what foods can a vegetarian eat? “The answer is something from plants, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as cereals, buckwheat, rice and wheat, lemons, soy products, nuts and oilseeds,” said nutritionist Venkataraman. As a dairy alternative, oat can be obtained from milk or coconut, nuts, soy, etc., explains the dietitian Pathania. With the popularity of this food, more and more companies are coming up with vegan products, which are now becoming more accessible to consumers.
“Research predicts that demand for plant-based alternatives for both dairy and meat may increase in the next two years,” said Abhishek Chabria, founder, Wellbeing Nutrition, which produces nutritious products using plant-based ingredients. “It’s primarily driven by the millennium,” he added.
One of the concerns surrounding the vegetarian diet is the lack of certain nutrients, especially protein and calcium. However, one nutrient that is of greater concern is vitamin B12, which can only be obtained from animal sources. “This vitamin keeps nerves, blood cells and DNA healthy,” explains nutritionist Venkataraman, adding: “Lack of it can lead to symptoms like nerve damage, fatigue, trembling of hands and feet, numbness, blurred vision and digestive problems if left untreated.” However, it can lead to nervous effects that are irreversible. “
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in dairy products such as milk and cheese, along with eggs and meat. So, when switching to a vegetarian diet, pay attention to your vitamin B12 intake. Taking supplements may help, Venkataraman recommends.
For calcium, you can eat leafy greens. For protein, you can eat tofu, lentils, legumes or tempeh. Siddharth Ramasubramanian, Founder and CEO of Vegolution India, the creator of Hello Tempayy, says, “Tempay is a 100% plant-based, low carb, high protein diet, ideal for a vegetarian diet. Plant-based proteins, which are gluten-free, low in saturated fat and rich in carbohydrates and fiber, he adds.
Since fermentation is tempe, it is rich in probiotics and various macronutrients, says Dr. Priyanka Marakini, a nutritionist. Made with pure soybeans, 100 grams of it is packed with 19 grams of protein, he added. According to the CEO of Vegolution India, this plant-based protein product is also versatile, and can be incorporated into multiple foods such as curry, kebabs and rolls.
So, if you are fully committed to switching to veganism, there are several food options available. However, it will be helpful if you consult a qualified nutritionist or a dietitian as he or she can help you with alternative and healthier changes.