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Every year, on November 1, the vegan community of the world celebrates and observes World Vegan Day with full enthusiasm.
This day celebrates and embraces an all-green diet that excludes dairy and animal products. On this day, people are encouraged to adopt a vegan lifestyle. In fact, according to some notable vegans, this kind of lifestyle enhances human health, protects the well-being of animals, and aids in environmental protection. Interestingly, the year 2021 will mark the 77 years of World Vegan Day.
World Vegan Day was established On November 1, 1994, to mark the golden jubilee of the United Kingdom (UK) Vegan Society and also to celebrate the term "vegan”. It is said that veganism have been existing in this world for more than 2000 years.
In fact, considering the advantages of having a vegan life, Pythagoras, one of the famous Greek mathematician and philosopher, advocated for being friendly to all creatures; therefore, indirectly preaching veganism. Not only this, Buddhists, till date, believe in veganism and one of the pillars of their religion is to never harm an animal.
It must be noted that veganism not only eliminates killing of animals for food but also prohibits cruelty and mistreatment towards animals. This concept, as a whole, promotes health benefits and prevents many health problems like obesity, colon cancer, heart diseases, and other life-threatening issues.
World Vegan Day is celebrated worldwide with zeal and zest in a variety of ways. People all around the world organise and take part in small-scale carnivals, culinary festivals, and public gatherings.
The theme for this year’s World Vegan Day is ‘vegan for the less’. This theme clarifies that people don't have to spend money in order to go vegan or follow a vegan lifestyle. Being a vegan is quite affordable and also helps people in this world experiencing inflation.
Keywords: World Vegan Day, Health, Fitness, Veganism, Benefits, Significance.
The growing towards conscious eating habits, backed by health benefits is set to drive Veganism as a way of life in the days to come. But being a vegan, one often faces questions about their diet.
It’s important to remember Veganism is not a diet or fad but a social justice movement for animals. To start with, vegans are those who do not use animal products or even by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, cosmetics. Individuals who prefer to be vegan choose food that does not exploit animals.
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On World Vegan Day, IANSlife spoke to Amjor Chandran, animal rights activist and co-organizer of Vegan India Movement, Animal Liberation March India (ALMI), and the Animal Rights March India clears the air on veganism.
Bursting the myths about veganism:
There is a common belief that it is not affordable to go vegan. The truth is: it is economical. It is essential for a human being to follow a balanced diet with pulses and cereals, grains, vegetables, and fruit to fulfill the body’s nutritional requirements, he says.
“When we eliminate animal products from our diet, it is not necessary to substitute them with vegan alternatives. Vegan alternatives like almond and soy milk mock meat are only to satiate our taste buds. They are not essential to go vegan. Eliminating animal products is cost-effective.
“Another big misconception is that the vegans are protein deficient because people think only meat has protein. A well plant-based diet will give you all the essential amino acids needed for your body. Other requirements like B12 is a vitamin which is neither plant nor animal origin.
They are found in microbes. Because of too much sanitation, it is not readily available. So, it is necessary to take supplements. Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D as well as supplementation. 40 percent of the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D irrespective of what they eat. So, it is not correct to think that a vegan diet lacks nutrients,” Chandran points out.
Benefits of veganism
By choosing to go vegan you not only contribute to the effort to stop the exploitation of animals but also to reduce your carbon footprint and prevent diseases. By following a whole food and plant-based diet, you can prevent or even reverse 15 of the major killer diseases of our time that includes heart disease and diabetes. This is explained with facts by Dr. Michael Gregor in his famous video on YouTube “Uprooting the leading causes of death”, says the expert.
“Being vegan is the single best way to reduce your environmental impact on the earth. Animal agriculture is responsible for deforestation, water shortage, Global warming, and climate change. Globally, 50 percent of food grains that are produced in this world are used to feed the animals that we breed and overpopulate. A global shift towards veganism significantly helps us in preventing food shortage,” he asserts.
Adding: “Animal agriculture is responsible for global warming, deforestation, climate change, and water scarcity. This is the reason why environmentalists like James Cameron and Greta Thunberg have turned vegan. There are growing activist groups across the country like Duval (Delhi Vegans for Animal Liberation ) which is based in Delhi and Kerala vegan Movement, which aim at creating vegan awareness by several campaigns like Marches, the cube of truth, lectures, street outreaches.”
Vegan India Movement is an initiative that strives to bring together grassroots vegan Activists across the country. 1,000 activists across the country actively participate in different campaigns. Last month was named #whydiaryiscruel in which several activists made videos in their regional languages to make people aware of the standard practices of the dairy industry.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: भारतीय चैरिटी संस्था इंग्लैंड में करा रही मुफ्त भोजन !
Cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai have an immense rise in the number of vegans. The Movement is slowly spreading across the small towns as well. There is no proper survey conducted to measure the number of vegans yet. But with more awareness being created by activists, it’s bound to increase exponentially.
How can one become a vegan?
He says: “Veganism is not about perfectionism. It is not a perfect world that we live in, but the endeavor is to strive towards creating one. It’s about not causing intentional harm to animals. As far as our diet is concerned, it’s about following a balanced diet and eliminating animal products.
Some people find it difficult to let go of the taste of animal products, that’s where alternatives come into play.” Tea, coffee, paneer, and all other addictions can be replaced with similar plant-based alternatives. There are many start-ups which sell mock meats as well
He adds: “Besides diet, it is important to focus on our lifestyle as well. As a vegan one should not wear silk, fur, wool which is made of animal skin, and replace cosmetics, beauty products with cruelty-free products. One needs to be very careful in using products from the industry where animals are used, they are abused and exploited.” (IANS)
NOvember 1,2017: Veganism as a concept comes from a sense of responsibility towards animals and animal products and towards the need for a healthier lifestyle. In a world where people are looking to turn to healthier foods and lifestyles, veganism could just be the need of the hour.
While many have considered turning vegan at some point, the most predominant reason people do not go through with it is the struggle to maintain a vegan diet. However, being conscious and keeping these few things in mind can help achieve success in your effort to become a vegan:
For example: almonds are a source of 15 nutrients, including essential ones such as protein. In fact, these nuts are a richer source of protein when compared with other nuts. Hence, snacking smart with almonds is a great way to start leading a healthy lifestyle.
2. Don’t limit your food choices, find alternatives: You may assume becoming vegan would mean fewer food options. This, however, is a myth. There are alternatives for almost everything. For instance, milk can be replaced with soya or almond milk. Eggs and cottage cheese (paneer) can be swapped with tofu, and meats can be replaced with soya chunks or nuggets. While it does take a little getting used to, but once you do, you may not even miss what you have left behind.
3. Reduce dependency on processed snacks: It is easy to fall prey to the processed food available off the shelves, when hungry, in between your meals. However, processed food is usually high in sodium or sugars which make them unhealthy.
Hence, reduce the intake of processed foods by carrying your snack with you. Vegan foods like sunflower/flax seeds and almonds are fuss free, convenient snacks that can be eaten anywhere and at any time of the day. Whether at home, work or on the go, snacking of these alternatives instead of unwholesome snacks, can make a healthy difference to your life.
4. Drinking water is not passe: While veganism does increase your consumption of fruits, including those with a high water content, you must still strive to consume at least two litres of water every day. If you get bored or tired of drinking plain water, you can mix it up by adding slices of citrus fruits like lemon, sweet lime and/or orange or add mashed fruits like strawberries, cranberries, or even just fresh mint leaves with slices of cucumber.
5. Start small and stay positive: Going vegan suddenly can be a big adjustment for your body and may end up making you uncomfortable. Try starting your transition by being a part-time vegan — keep one meal/snack time in a day in which you will consume moderate servings of non-vegan food items that you have been used to like chicken, fish or eggs.
Gradually decrease your cheat days from once a day to once a week and so on till your body has transitioned successfully into the vegan diet. Eating fresh, healthy food and exercising regularly can help bring positivity and stay calm.
This World Vegan Day, let us celebrate the compassion that vegans feel towards animals and their own bodies and let us also make a conscious effort to make our lives healthier and fulfilled.(IANS)
(Madhuri Ruia is a nutritionist. The views expressed are personal. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>)