With millions of people across the globe celebrating November as World Vegan Month, it is indeed a good time to talk about the vegan diet and bust some myths around animal based products. The vegan diet, as we know, is essentially a 100% plant based diet with a wide variety from the six basic plant based food groups, namely fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. From these food groups also available are three extracts that we call juices, oils and plant milks. Since humans are physically and physiologically designed like herbivorous animals, a fully plant based diet is natural, sufficient, suitable and very healthy for us. Animal protein, heme iron, cholesterol and high amounts of saturated fat that are inherently present in animal based foods are unnecessary for the human body and their regular consumption often leads to diseases and untimely death. There is a misconception that nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 and 6 are available only through animal based foods. The truth is that animals only process the nutrients that they get from plants. Plants are the primary source of nutrition and all herbivorous animals do perfectly well on a fully plant based diet. That dairy milk is the best source of calcium for us is also not true because a new mother’s milk is meant as a source of food and nutrition only for her own babies and after teething, other foods become the direct source of all nutrition. Besides drinking milk post-infancy, we are the only animals who drink milk inter-species and convert it into various dairy products that are all high in lactose, casein, cholesterol and saturated fat. Sportspersons, athletes, body builders, actors and anyone who is conscious about health and fitness are fast switching to a fully plant based diet. It is no surprise that so many foods and beverages that we consume on a daily basis are, by default, vegan which means we only need to eliminate flesh, eggs and milk from our diet or choose their substitutes that are as tasty if not more! Originally published on the Jammu Links website
Veganism is a philosophy and a way of living that 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. The term ‘vegan’ was coined in 1944 from the first three and last two letters of the word ‘vegetarian’. Following the concept of ahimsa, a vegetarian does abstain from flesh and eggs in diet. But the fact is that there is abuse and exploitation of animals in every human use. And therefore, a vegan is someone who selects cosmetics, toiletries and household products not tested on animals and without animal derived ingredients, says no to the use of animals for experiments, work and entertainment, opts to adopt but does not buy animals as pets, chooses cruelty free alterna-tives to leather, wool, silk, honey and other animal based products, and abstains from flesh, eggs and animal milk in diet. To actively not participate in any use of animals stems from our inherent love, com-passion and respect towards ani-mals and from our core values of justice and nonviolence towards all living beings. After all, be it birds, fishes or land animals, all animals like us, enjoy the freedom of move-merit, have an intrinsic value of their own lives and are sentient beings who can feel and perceive. But in our use of them, we grossly violate their basic right to be free by restraining them with ropes and chains or confining them in cages, tanks, sheds or other such enclo-sures, we deny them everything that is natural to them, right from their natural habitat , activities and families to their natural death and we constantly inflict unimaginable physical, sexual, mental and emo-tional pain upon them. Every single day, more and more people across the world are taking a look beyond society’s conditioning and going vegan. It is time we all do too.
Vegan, as in diet, refers to a fully plant based diet. As a person, opposed to a vegetarian, a vegan is someone who not only abstains from the flesh and eggs of other animals, but also avoids their secretions such as milk and honey. The vegan philosophy is based on the principle that it is not possible to use animals for our purpose without causing them harm. A normal person consumes plenty of vegan foods and beverages in a day. After all. fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds are all vegan by default. A lot of dishes in every cuisine happen to be vegan too when all ingredients are is restrictive is not true at all. Though we have made plant based. So for anyone to say that the vegan diet animal based products a part of our culture and tradition, it is increas-ingly being realised that we are not carnivores who catch, kill and tear our own prey and then bite, swallow and digest raw flesh. In fact, there are no animals in Nature who eat eggs routinely or drink milk post-infancy or inter-species. Since we are physically and physiologi-cally designed more like herbivores, a dilly plant based diet is now being seen as the most natural and healthy for us. While the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and the suffering we cause to the animals remain the primary reasons to go vegan in diet, health is a great benefit we can derive from a fully plant based diet.
While humans can easily get their protein directly from plants, we have been led to believe that there is higher and better protein in animal based products such as flesh, eggs and milk Having gone vegan in diet, Virat Kohli has joined the growing list of international sportspersons who are choosing to let their bodies be fuelled by plant protein. WHAT IS PROTEIN?Protein is a macronutrient that has many functions including building muscles in animals and providing energy to them. Protein is made up of amino acids, some that the body produces itself while some that need to be ingested through food. WHAT IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF PROTEIN?Since only plants have the ability to take nitrogen from the air, break those molecules apart and incorporate that nitrogen into amino acids to make protein, the primary source of protein is obviously plants. WHERE DO HERBIVORES GET THEIR PROTEIN FROM?Be it the horse, gorilla, bull, elephant, giraffe or ox, all animals known for their agility, strength, aggression, endurance, height, stamina and other such enviable physical attributes get their protein directly from plants. WHERE DO CARNIVORES GET THEIR PROTEIN FROM?Nature has designed carnivores to kill and eat other animals to get protein indirectly from the flesh and other body parts of those animals. WHERE DO HUMANS GET THEIR PROTEIN FROM?While humans can easily get their protein directly from plants, we have been led to believe that there is higher and better protein in animal based products such as flesh, eggs and milk. WHY SHOULD HUMANS AVOID EXCESS PROTEIN?We are told to pay extra attention to our protein intake, but how much protein does a human body really need? As new mothers, female mammals produce milk meant as a complete food and source of nutrition for their babies. Every mammal’s milk varies in content and composition to suit its own kind. Human breast milk has one of the lowest protein content in the mammalian world. Comprising only five to six percent of total calories, the protein in human milk is naturally adequate for a human baby in its first two years at the time when tissue growth is at its highest. In later years, though the amount of protein a human body needs varies according to age, gender, weight and activity level, the recommended amount hovers around one gram for every kilogram of body weight per day. But as we see now, many people consume protein far in excess of what is required because we are told that protein is a super nutrient that will make us lean and strong. The truth, however, is that calories coming from protein is also stored as fat in the body if not burnt. Besides, an intake of a high protein diet is likely to leave us less hungry for foods rich in other nutrients that are equally essential for our body. WHY SHOULD HUMANS AVOID ANIMAL PROTEIN?Carnivorous animals are physically designed to catch, kill and tear their own prey. They are physiologically designed to chew, swallow and digest raw flesh and other body parts. And most importantly, they are meant to gain nutritional benefits from what they eat. Contrary to this, humans tend to let others do the dirty job of killing, chopping and cleaning the animals. They also prefer their meat to be cooked, flavoured and spiced. And very sadly, what looks like nutritional gain is actually their loss of health. The high concentrated animal protein can raise the body’s production of IGF-1, a hormone known to cause cancer. Excess animal protein can cause and promote autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes. The highly acidic animal protein can lead to osteoporosis, fractures and kidney stones. And the excessively sulphur based animal protein can increase the chances of heart attack, stroke and dementia. IS THERE MORE TO ANIMAL BASED PRODUCTS THAN JUST ANIMAL PROTEIN?Yes, flesh has heme iron. Flesh and eggs both have high amounts of saturated fat. Milk from cows has lactose, casein and plenty of saturated fat. Flesh, eggs and milk all have cholesterol. Added to these are hormones, pus and antibiotics that come from farmed animals. And rightly so, it is no longer a secret that the single largest cause of diseases and drug resistance is our animal based diets, even the one that includes only animal milk. WHERE CAN WE GET OUR PROTEIN FROM?Plants! Plants are the direct and richest source of protein and all other nutrients that a human body requires. Protein from plants is easy for us to digest. The right combination of legumes, grains, nuts and seeds provides all essential amino acids that we need. And plant based products like pea powder, soy milk and tofu can fulfil any additional requirement of protein that we have. So, be like Virat! Be vegan in diet! Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution. Originally published on the Business World website.
Nuts have always been popular and widely eaten since they are rightly considered a part of a healthy diet for humans. The fibre, the unsaturated fat, the vitamins, the minerals and the phytonutrients present in nuts are recognized as essential for the growth and development of our body and mind. However, this sudden boom in the plant milk industry has made people really go nuts over nuts! Of course, there are others like soy milk and coconut milk that have always been around and new entrants like oat milk and hemp milk, but milk extracted from nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts find favour with most people. The popularity of plant milks can be attributed to the declining interest in animal milks. People across the globe are beginning to realize that we have, for too long, been fed the lie that drinking an animal’s milk, especially of a cow, is natural and healthy for us. But the truth is that neither is drinking milk post-infancy natural nor is drinking milk interspecies healthy. After all, milk is just a white liquid that is produced by a new mother and is meant as food and a source of nutrition only for her own babies. So how can another mother’s milk become our ‘food’ or be a good source of nutrition for us? Besides, more and more people are also questioning the ethics of dairy farming and what animal agriculture entails for the environment, making the shift to plant milk a global phenomenon. Since we are addicted to adding ‘milk’ to our tea and coffee or gulping down glasses of ‘milk’ and pushing it down our children’s throats, we do need a white liquid as a replacement. And any extract from a plant-based product that is white in colour is fitting the bill very well! Then we need a ‘milk’ for making curds and savoury and sweet dishes. Here again, plant milks work as good substitutes because they are as versatile in use as dairy milk. And lastly, the dairy products that we enjoy like cheese, butter, paneer, and ghee are now being replaced by almond cheese, peanut butter, tofu and coconut oil. Coming to the nutritional value where dairy milk has been promoted as the best source of calcium, the fact remains that milk is only an indirect source of calcium and the cow herself gets calcium from the plants she eats. Besides, calcium is not the only mineral that our body needs for strong bones and teeth. It is proven beyond doubt that a balanced diet of plant products (nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains) and their extracts (oils, juices and milk) provide all the calcium and other nutrients necessary for a human body. An additional and important piece of information which often gets overlooked is that plant-based foods are not only nutrient-dense but absolutely cholesterol-free, unlike all animal-based items including animal milk. As descendants of the apes, humans are meant to be frugivores who eat fruits, nuts and seeds. And many people who are now going on a raw vegan diet, are doing exactly that. So whether it is for ethical, environmental or health reasons, plant milks are here to stay. Plant milks are natural and tasty. They are easy to make at home and increasingly easy to buy from the market. And you can get all information regarding plant milk online. So go nuts over nut milk today and also share wellness and happiness among family and friends! Malvika Kalra (The author is the founder of REHAI-freedom for animals, an initiative to promote Veganism. She is also a TEDx speaker who has spoken on Animal Liberation and the end of Speciesism) Originally published on the Ambrosia Nuts website.
“I came across the word “vegano” in my Spanish class and learned that it referred to vegetarians who didn’t consume animal milk and dairy products. I remember thinking, “What extremists!” “Later, one day, out of nowhere, I was reminded of the term and just randomly searched about it online. It was a shocking revelation about how animals are not only killed but subjected to unimaginable atrocities, how vegetarianism supports the meat industry, and I went vegan almost overnight. Slowly, I came to realize that veganism is so much more than just a diet. It is essentially a full-blown movement against animal exploitation. Now, I have been a vegan for almost 4.5 years …. The decision was overnight, but the shift has been gradual, and I feel that’s okay.” – Akshita Kukreja “Personally, as a dermatologist and a vegan for four years now, I would say it’s the best bet for fresh-looking, healthy skin.” “I was always a sensitive child who grew up amongst animals. It was a regular sight to find me playing with a stray dog near school premises. When I joined medical school, the sight of dissection made me aware that the cruelty involved was so similar to the meat industry. Plus, the idea of having animals for food seemed similar to making the ones you love suffer horribly. From further research, I also found the different medical and health benefits of being a vegan!” -Dr.Aishwarya R “I have two beautiful dogs at home with me, whom I infinitely love, and they are my family. I asked myself, what have I been doing to the other animals up until now? Do they deserve less?” “I remember watching a 30-minute-long slaughterhouse and animal abuse video which included the merciless bludgeoning of large animals, grinding of chicks who were alive, and a massacre of fish, with hundreds of them writhing. I think I can still hear all the screeching prayers that escaped from the mouths of the animals in that video. They didn’t want to die, but they did. It shook me, and I broke down, gravely! I could finally see myself and my folly over all those years and I knew in my head where I stood just a couple of hours back and where I would finally stand now. I feel very proud and humble at the same time, for I have understood that no life is above or below me. I respect my existence, and I respect the same in all the living beings on this planet. I am vegan for life. To give healing is to receive the same.” -Kratika Ramesh “As I understood more about veganism, I adopted it as a way of living.” “I do not know what connection I made, but I turned vegetarian at 15 after having read an article on the Draize test by Maneka Gandhi. It was only five years back, when I was 49, that someone showed me an image on his phone of a slaughtered cow [and I went] onto the internet to look for more information on the dairy industry. As is the case for most people, PETA India was the only organisation that came to mind. And as I went through the PETA India website, I realised that it was not just in the dairy industry but [that] cruelty existed in each and every use of animals, even in our land of ahimsa. I quit milk and dairy products right then. My journey into veganism has not been lonely, because both my children and parents went vegan, too. Even my sister and her family are transitioning to a fully plant-based diet now!” -Malvika Kalra “Daal, chawal, roti and sabji are all vegan and it is so easy to be a vegan.” “I gave up meat, eggs, leather, silk, and wool 25 years ago but continued to have dairy. My heart broke 10 years ago when I read that cows are forcibly impregnated repeatedly for four years, deprived … of their infants, and slaughtered when they are just 4 years old. No one deserves a life like this. Turning vegan was the best thing that happened to me, both psychologically and physiologically. I am much calmer and more peaceful, and I have reversed high cholesterol, hyper-acidity, and even psoriasis.” -Manpreeth Singh “Yulin happens everywhere – it’s just that the animals are cows, pigs, and chickens.” “Last year in May, I talked to a guy in Taiwan who told me that. That was an eye-opening incident for me – I felt bad about all animals who are suffering, not just dogs. I joined the vegan community as a non-vegan, and there, I came to know about the amount of suffering I was inflicting on the animals in the dairy industry. I started transitioning, and with the help of my fellow animal rights activists, I am a proud vegan today.” -Raghav Mishra “We saw the eyes of our own adopted cat and dog in the scared, innocent eyes of hens, buffaloes, cows, goats, fish, and all other beings.” “We were meat-eaters and dairy addicts. Then, about three and a half years back, my sons discovered and showed us the horrendous animal cruelty in milk, eggs, chicken, leather, wool, etc. We immediately connected with the unbearable pain in their cries. We were shocked and so guilty that we had never thought of it earlier. We freed ourselves from the chains of social conditioning that led us to believe animals are ours to exploit. My sons declared that we wouldn’t contribute to this barbaric injustice to innocent beings. We gladly embraced veganism. Now, we feel guilt-free because we no longer pay for their exploitation and murder. We are happy to lead [a] cruelty-free, affordable, ethical vegan lifestyle as a vegan family. We do not miss anything at all. We feel obliged to spread awareness about veganism to abolish this horrendous barbarism to animals and get them long-awaited justice.” – Sandeepa Bhambri and Family (Sahil, Naman, and Bhupinder)
The Yulin festival is no exception to our blatant disrespect and disregard towards sentient beings Yulin is a city in Guangxi, People’s Republic of China. And in recent years, the city has gained worldwide attention for its ‘Lychee and Dog Meat’ festival. Though eating lychees and dog meat is quite common in China, but in the year 2010, eating lychees and dog meat was conceived and executed as a festival in Yulin. Thereafter, the 10-day Yulin festival has been taking place from June 21st to June 30th every year.In all aspects of our lives, we do not really have a natural instinct to follow. We rely more on society’s conditioning. And this holds true even with something as basic as food that a living being needs for survival and good health. While all other animals know exactly what to and what not to eat, our choice of food is determined by religion, region, taste, availability, affordability, health benefit notions and so on. And it is very easy for religious heads, producers, suppliers, government agencies, doctors, nutritionists and others with a vested interest to mould our way of eating that is most profitable to them.The Yulin festival is no exception to our blatant disrespect and disregard towards sentient beings. Since there is no fundamental difference between dogs, cows, lambs, turkeys and other animals, any festival that involves killing animals and feasting on their dead bodies is a Yulin. For that matter, if the food on our table comes from slaughterhouses and butcher shops, we too are actively participating in the festivity of death, albeit elsewhere in the world.Those vehemently opposing the Yulin festival are, by and large, ‘dog lovers’. But you do not even need to be an ‘animal lover’ to stand up against such brutality. It is enough to believe that it is wrong to victimise innocent and helpless beings no matter to which species they belong. And if you can get others to extend their circle of compassion, help them understand that our animal-based food choices are unnatural, unnecessary and unhealthy, then not just Yulin, but together we can end each and every exploitation of animals that takes place in the guise of their ‘use’ for purposes like experiments, work, entertainment and products. Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution. Originally published on the Business World website.
Since diet plays a crucial part, it is worth the detailed analysis No kid today has heard of the old saying ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Growth in the Health sector is not a happy index of accessibility of healthcare for more people. It just shows how many people now are in need of healthcare. The strong nexus among the pharmaceutical companies, the testing laboratories and doctors is very apparent. And a sick person is a welcome guest in this web.In this entire drama, we forget that our status of health lies 50% in diet and 50% in our lifestyle that includes sleep, exercise and how our mind works. But once we fall sick, it becomes a variable combination of medicines, diet, lifestyle and even prayers!Since diet plays a crucial part, it is worth the detailed analysis. Unlike other animals, humans do not have a natural instinct about food. Our food choice is dictated by religion, influenced by availability and limited by health issues. It is only within these parameters that our tastebuds work. Humans began as frugivores who ate fruits, nuts and seeds. Apparently, in times of scarcity, they began picking up scraps of meat left by carnivores (making us more like scavengers actually). The discovery of fire helped them cook the meat that they otherwise could not easily tear (our canines are really small!), chew, swallow and digest. And it was only 10,000 years ago when humans became settlers and domesticated animals were when they began to eat meat on a more regular basis followed by eggs and milk.Which brings us to a crucial point: which diet is the best for us? It seems that a vegan diet, which is a fully plant-based diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds outshines all that include animal-based products. From an ethical viewpoint, again it is a vegan diet that wins because most of us believe that it is wrong to be cruel to animals and almost all of us could not hurt or kill an animal ourselves. And with emerging evidence of the detrimental impact of an animal-based diet on the environment, there just seems to be no reason to be on anything but a vegan diet which is the only sustainable one.It is time we looked at Healthcare in a more holistic way. Healthcare is not just about providing medical care. It is about ensuring that every person has access to good food, clean water and other amenities. People need to relearn that prevention is better than cure that now comes at a very unaffordable price. Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution. Originally published on the Business World website.
I was not raised a vegetarian, but it took nothing to become one the minute I realized that my palate pleasure was not worth taking a life. I was only fifteen years old, an age when most kids do not defy norms. But I was adamant. It had nothing to do my love for animals. In fact till date, I do not really like seeing lizards, cockroaches, flies and mosquitoes around me. I might say I love my dog, but he is just one dog I care for. Most ethical vegetarians are not animal lovers either. The concept of vegetarianism is based on ahimsa or non violence. But while vegetarians might ensure they do not put flesh and eggs in their mouth,there is no guarantee that they will follow the principle towards all animals or even humans for that matter. The concept of Veganism is gaining popularity because it gives an identity to those who want to cut out the inherent cruelty in vegetarianism. It sees abuse in animals used for experiment, work and entertainment, kept as pets and used for deriving products like leather, wool, silk and honey. It accepts the cruelty in the dairy industry. The difference between a vegetarian and most people who have turned vegan is stark. In my own experience, going vegetarian was my personal choice and I did not impose it on others. In fact, I was quite comfortable sitting down on a table with a non vegetarian spread, serving and often cooking meat and eggs. I had no major problem with seeing chickens outside butcher shops. And I never felt sad looking at animals being used for work and entertainment and as pets. In fact, like all kids, I had gone to the zoo and taken rides on a camel, elephant and a horse. I possessed leather accessories, woollen and silk garments and wore pearls. And I drank lots of milk and ate all dairy products. But one day, three years back, I went vegan. And like most vegans, I became an’activist’. I wanted to share my new found information on animal abuse hoping that each one of who I talk to will get shocked and make amends. I believed that humans are compassionate by nature, but were participating in animal abuse because of lack of awareness. I remain disappointed, yet hopeful. My vegetarian days are over when I was a passive witness to cruelty. I am a vegan and a veganism promoter now because, like many others, I firmly believe it is not fair to exploit other beings just because they are innocent, helpless and vulnerable. Society openly accepts vegetarians for their beliefs. It is time society accepts vegans for their commitment.