Constant questions that I keep hearing from people around me these days is about Veganism and if it is taking over the world? While one part of the world is wondering about this, the other part of the world is still wondering what is Veganism. India is probably the only country where vegetarianism is culturally and legally supported. Many countries are following suit, though.
What exactly is Veganism? The simple definition would be to eat no animal products. So it is vegetarianism minus all dairy. People become Vegans for many reasons, some because of diet restrictions, like in my case, my husband is a vegetarian and my son was allergic to dairy and eggs so restricting myself to a vegan diet made life easy. But many people now think beyond just the diet. Veganism now symbolises not using any kind of animal products including not wearing leather, silk, wool, etc. Vegans also do not use products tested on animals. It is a way of reducing our carbon footprint too.
There are vegan groups, nearly one for each country at this stage where people have taken up steps to fight for the cause of veganism by having demos in fast food restaurants, presentations in schools and workplaces to talk about animal cruelty.
If you want to think about being vegan, the best place to start is from your diet. It looks like a very difficult thing to do, but with a little bit of help, you will be able to achieve it without too much trouble. I’ve actually found Indian diet much easily adaptable to veganism than any other diet in the world as we are mostly vegetarians. Remember we are the only species that drink milk way after weaning, and that too milk of another species.
Here are a few tips to start with Veganism
- There are plenty of non-dairy options available for milk these days in big cities and sometimes even smaller cities and towns have the option of soya milk. Other options including rice milk and almond milk. If you are interested you can make your own cashew milk, peanut milk, etc.
- Instead of the regular curd made out of cows milk, you can make curds out of peanut milk, cashew milk, etc.
- You can easily make almond butter, peanut butter, etc at home
- Slowly but steadily the number of brands catering to vegans is increasing and there are vegan products available in the market, though at a slightly higher price.
- There are at least ten different support groups on facebook in India alone. There is the All India one and then there are regional ones, so maybe you can find one close to your city which can help you in finding information on where vegan products are available in your city. It is also a great way to meet fellow vegans and support each other
- There are plenty of vegan recipe sites on the internet which gives you a wide choice of recipes.
- If you have a recipe which you want to try and it is not vegan, there are substitutes available for dairy that you can use.
- There are even vegan meat substitutes if you are interested, like the soya meat that is available in supermarkets now.
- Nearly every city has, at least, a couple of exclusively vegan restaurants these days, so eating out is not a problem anymore.
- Try and get as much support you can from family and friends. It is easier to do it with support than to struggle alone.
- Once you have conquered your diet part, then if you are interested, then you can change what you wear and what you use to become a full-fledged vegan.
Here are a couple of vegan recipes that you can try out!
- 2 cups raw, shelled peanuts
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup grated jaggery (use more or less depending on how sweet you want your peanut butter to be)
- two spoons peanut or any oil.
- Bake (200 degrees for 12 minutes) or dry roast the peanuts on a pan
- Remove the skin
- Pulse it till the peanuts are coarse
- Add salt and the jaggery and oil and keep grinding till you get the desired consistency.
- You need not add more oil as the peanut releases its own oil
- 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
- 1/4 cup honey or any other sweetener of your choice.
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup orange juice/banana juice
- 1 cup grated carrots, packed (2-4 carrots)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 cup flour (can use 1/2 of one kind flour and 1/2 of another )
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. clove powder
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Mix all the wet ingredients together
- Mix all the dry ingredients in separate bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
- Place in 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan and bake until done – about 35-40 minutes.
- You can easily double the recipe and bake it in a 9×13 pan for about 45-50 minutes.
Few links that might be of help to you:
http://vegan-india.blogspot.it/ – Vegan India blog spot, it has a link to all the vegan groups on facebook from India, has recipes, vegan products that are available in India and a lot more.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/vegansinindia/?fref=ts – Vegan India facebook group