Author: Renu Puri
This blog tells you all about Veganism. Before committing to a diet, it is essential to know the origin of it, what it entails, and how you should proceed with it. Our aim with this blog is to spread awareness and educate people about the benefits and authenticity of the diet. We wish to reduce, if not eliminate the misconceptions and myths surrounding the diet so our readers can gain more knowledge about veganism.
Introduction, driving factor behind the diet, difference between vegan and vegetarian, types of vegan diets, benefits, statistics, foods you can eat, and a brief conclusion are the topics covered in this blog. Read on to find out everything you wish to know about being vegan.
Veganism is one approach that has gained wide popularity in recent times and, eh, just a sprinkle of controversy as well. Well, no great initiative is truly made without some controversy here and there. In fact, when people were fighting to abolish malpractices in ancient times like sati, child marriage, pardha system, there were a lot of controversies involved. So, take a chill pill and if you’re someone wanting to go vegan, don’t hesitate!
For the majority of people that follow the vegan diet, there is usually a driving factor. Three of the most popular ones are – for their own health, for the animals, or for the planet.
Switching from a vegetarian or non-vegetarian diet to veganism means you will eliminate any animal products or derivatives. This will make you reliant on other types of fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, etc thereby enhancing your nutritive intake. It is also validated by research that vegan diets can help you lose weight and improve kidney function.
If you have never seen the gut wrenching condition of cows in the dairy industry, let me give you a glimpse into the kind of hell these animals have to face at our expense. Painful mutilations, confinement of newborn calves, breeding cows every year, and separating them from their calves every single time at birth, and the ones who can not keep up with the production are ultimately killed. And this is just the dairy industry, the meat industry is much worse. Oftentimes, we tend to overlook the brutality but a lot of people who turn vegan understand how these animals are treated and want to bring about a change in the way these industries thrive.
Shifting to a plant based diet not only has benefits for human health and animals, but also for the planet. It is noted that vegan meals have a great potential for reducing the carbon footprint and helping climate change. The reasoning behind this is that when we switch to eating pulses, legumes, and grains, there is very less greenhouse gas emission as opposed to when we eat meat or animal derivatives.
The whole wave of veganism came about when celebrities started endorsing the diet. Famous celebrities like John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha, Aamir Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, R. Madhavan, and Shahid Kapoor are vegans and often promote the approach on their social media.
Veganism is a way of life that encourages abstaining from the use of animal products in diets and living a life that rejects the commodity status of animals. The vegan society was formed by a small group of unconventional thinkers who were previously associated with the Leicester vegetarian society to form the vegan society. They started by completely eliminating meat and animal derivatives from their diet and continued to grow their popularity in the years to come.
A lot of vegans also aim to exclude animal cruelty from all facets of their life - cosmetics, clothes, activities, etc. Obviously, they aren’t all like the stereotypical Phoebe Buffay from Friends but yes, veganism is a way of life that encourages humans to be less destructive towards animals, wildlife and the planet in general while keeping health a priority.
A lot of people have this doubt, what is the difference between being a vegan and being a vegetarian? Both of these diets are very similar but there is a slight difference that serves as a clear demarcation between the two.
Well, Vegetarian food and Vegan food both don’t include meat, poultry, or seafood. Vegans, on top of not consuming meat, poultry, and seafood, also don’t consume dairy, eggs, or any animal derivatives.
Types of vegan diets? We know what you’re probably thinking! What’s there to categorize? Don’t all vegans have the same kind of food - grains, fruits, veggies? Think of it this way - As a non-vegetarian, some people only consume chicken, some only consume fish and lamb, and others may consume any type of meat. Although the absence of poultry, meat, and animal derivatives is a no-brainer, a vegan diet is also segregated into types.
A raw vegan diet is very self-explanatory. Vegans who follow this diet consume only raw vegan food as they feel that cooking at high temperatures makes you lose a lot of vital minerals and vitamins.
Don’t worry, they can still enjoy hot food at 40 degrees Celsius. Not as hot as most of us would like our meal, but that is sufficient for them. There are many raw vegan diet recipes on the internet and most of them are truly delicious. In fact, our registered dietitians or as you would call it, a vegan teacher at niwi.ai have mouth-watering recipes for raw food like vegan ice creams, cakes, biscuits, salads, and much more!
A fruit diet is another vegan diet where people only eat fruits, seeds, and nuts. Although we do not encourage this diet, there are many people who are avid followers and have seen tremendous health benefits. Some people only eat fruits while others combine pulses with fruits. All in all, fruit stays the main ingredient of the diet.
Gluten-free is another buzzword floating in the health and fitness space, thanks to the Kardashians. Gluten-free, in simple terms, just translates to an eating plan that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Earlier it was speculated that being vegan and gluten-free was impossible due to the limited options and complexities associated with the diet, but nowadays, with a plethora of options available, a lot of people are adopting the gluten-free vegan diet.
Many people suffer from Celiac disease which is the reason they opt for gluten-free diets. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that makes you very ill if you eat gluten. Last year, Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu, Miss Universe 2021 took to her social media to inform her fans and supporters that she suffers from Celiac disease.
Others who hop on a gluten-free vegan diet just refrain from consuming gluten for health reasons. Nevertheless, you can use gluten substitutes and cook delicious meals.
This is a diet that we definitely do not recommend, for obvious reasons but we do encourage cheat meals once a week or once every two weeks.
Well, gone are the days when you were vegan and the world felt alien to you. In fact, even a few years back, we had a client who was following a vegan diet under the guidance of our senior dietitian. Although he loved cooking and experimenting with vegan dishes at home, his primary concern was the lack of food options when he went out for leisure.
Nowadays, type “vegan food near me” on a search engine or vegan food on your Zomato or Swiggy app and find an array of delicious vegan fast food options. From vegan chai to vegan cake, to vegan samosa. I even saw vegan mutton samosa being served in one restaurant which really made me wonder how far veganism has come, especially with mock meats. Go to any superfoods store and you will find delicious vegan-friendly plant based meats.
Consuming animal derivatives like cheese, butter, ghee as well as red meats are associated with cardiac risks and lower life expectancy in humans. Encouraging plant-based meals can ensure that you have a good, healthy heart.
High cholesterol is also one of the prime reasons for heart attacks in 20 and 30-year-olds nowadays due to a bad and unhealthy diet. Vegan meal plans are usually high in fibre and help reduce inflammation and regulate blood pressure.
A 2013 study compared the results of a low-fat, low-glycaemic vegan diet to no dietary changes at all. After 18 weeks, the vegan diet group lost significantly more weight than the control group. And that’s not surprising. Vegan diets tend to reduce the number of calories you consume on a daily basis.
The average BMI of vegans is much lesser than that of people who follow other kinds of diet patterns. Just make sure to not indulge in vegan junk food just for taste’s sake and you will be good to go with your weight loss.
Plant-based diets are full of antioxidants, fibres, vitamins, minerals, and most of all phytochemicals - a molecule found in plants that is effective in fighting life-threatening diseases like cancer.
It has been evaluated through research that eating meats, especially red meats, have resulted in several types of cancer in the long haul. Prostate, colon, and pancreatic are the most common types. These detrimental cancers can be struck off at the root by adopting healthy eating habits and doing some physical activity.
A lot of diabetics go on Vegan diets due to the benefits associated. The best way to adopt a vegan lifestyle if you have type-2 diabetes is to ensure that every meal you take has a good balance of plant-based proteins, fats, and carbs.
If you eat nutritious and wholesome meals like fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and pulses, you will have a lower risk of diabetes or any ailments per se.
According to Truly Experiences,
According to wionews,
In the next three years, the plant-based meat market in India is expected to grow to $500 million from $30-40 million today. The Good Food Institute projects that plant-based dairy in India will grow from $21 million at present to $63.9 million by 2024 at a CAGR of 20.7 per cent.
According to a YouGov survey,
More than 60% of Indians have a more positive perception of plant-based/vegan diets compared to 2 years ago.
According to theprint.in,
Veganuary has welcomed participants from every country in the world* for the first time. More than 6,25,000 people from 229 countries and territories officially signed up to try vegan for 31 days, making this the biggest Veganuary ever.
Fruits are awesome! Readily available, fresh, and not too costly. If you are having a sweet craving, just pick up a fistful of strawberries and enjoy the crunch.
Fruits also replenish essential nutrients and antioxidants and are very less in calories. Some fruits that can help provide nutrition on a vegan diet are blueberries, grapefruit, orange, banana, apples, dates, avocado, pomegranate, pineapple, lemon, lime, raspberry, etc.
Vegetables are hands down the healthiest foods available to mankind. They are packed with beneficial nutrients and provide great energy for the body to function.
If you don’t like salads, you can go for other options like veggie stir-fry, tomato soup, vegetable curry, or just some stew. Investing in a cookbook or referring to some Tabitha brown blogs or youtube videos for delicious vegan recipes would also be a great choice. We recommend consuming more green leafy vegetables along with mushrooms, pumpkins, and carrots.
Pulses are filled with protein, so they can be a good option for a balanced diet. The proteins and many vitamins and minerals in pulses can be a great replacement for the protein found in meats or animal derivatives.
Chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, green beans can also be great sources of proteins.
Nuts and seeds are indispensable for vegans. They ensure that your body absorbs all the Vitamin-C that you consume through fruits and vegetables. Snack on them when you feel like you’re missing the crunch and munch. You can also add it to your salads or cereals for extra protein.
Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts are some nuts and seeds that you could incorporate in your vegan diet.
Indian cuisine is incomplete without the perfect blend of spice. Well, you’re in luck because there is no limit to the spice you can use in your food to make it tasty as spices are super healthy. They are known to boost the immune system and have great anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent you from deadly ailments.
Turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, saffron, chili powder, and pepper are some spices that will help you achieve that spectacular taste while helping your body heal.
Grains play a pivotal role in vegan diets. They are high in fiber and protein. Grains also can keep you satiated for long so are a great option to pair with vegetables to give you the optimum levels of nutrition and satiety.
Wheat, bran, oats, barley, and quinoa are some grains that you can look out for.
Although being vegan is a great initiative, keeping up with the diet may be challenging at times, especially in a place like India where roti without ghee and breakfast without whole milk is frowned upon. If you are looking to change your diet and lifestyle by adopting veganism, professional guidance can take you a long way. At niwi.ai, we evaluate your body type, family history, lifestyle, and even your tastebuds to offer delicious vegan meal plans.
Ready for a health revolution? Join us on our mission to transform the nutrition landscape!
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At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of clients transform their lives and feel stronger, more energetic, and definitely more confident in how they look and feel, by improving their relationship with food!