I have been planning this article since very long and I am glad that finally, I got to do it. This article is for all those who are from India and would like to know how it feels to be an India vegan and what all things one might actually have to go through to adopt veganism. It is better to ask all this to a Vegan.
Saurabh is a vegan whom I know through Instagram. The thing I like most about his vegan food posts is that they are genuine and very practical. You too can follow him on Instagram @vegan_saurabh for more.
Here are some Interesting Qs and As between me and Saurabh:-
Q.1 Were you a vegetarian or non-vegetarian before adopting veganism? How long have you been a vegan?
A: I have been vegetarian through all my life owing to the lifestyle of my parents and grandparents. I adopted veganism in 2012 which means I am a vegan from past 6 years.
Q.2 Being in Mumbai for 24 years the only lifestyle I have seen around me is… work 9 to 8, travel in local trains, hogg, wear the latest Bollywood fashion. What made you adopt this lifestyle which does not even exist for many?
A: I am a seafarer by profession, In 2012, I was on ship and I came across an article on veal and I got to know that it’s the by-product of dairy industry and this lead me to search more about this topic and then I got to know about the horrors associated with dairy industry and I could never go back to eating dairy products again
Q.3 Veganism means quitting milk and milk products. This list includes bread, chocolates, cakes, butter, ghee, Paneer etc. These are some of the favorite foods of people, what would you like to tell them? And how is the experience of quitting all this?
A: I would be lying if I say that I don’t miss them but knowing that I am not causing any harm and that the food that I am getting is cruelty-free is such a good feeling that it doesn’t bother me at all.
Q.4 Being a vegetarian is enough disturbing when it comes to socializing. People don’t want to hangouts with you just coz they don’t consider you a good company to eat. How difficult was veganism for you?
A: Turning vegan has been nothing short of a nightmare when it comes to being accepted by society, forget about friends and other relatives my parents were so sceptical that they thought something terribly wrong has gone with me and took me to a baba for jhaad phook session and made me sit in front of 2-3 psychologists to cure my veganism fever, when nothing worked they started emotional blackmailing me by crying in front of me I tried my best to spend as much time on ship as I can and slowly but steadily they came to accept my terms and are much better now, though my mother still keeps on asking me to start dairy again but, she knows that it is never happening.
My friends use to make so much fun of me that I have become numb to their jokes and they don’t bug me anymore. Also, Thanks to my profession I learned to like my own company long ago and I still prefer to sit in my house alone and watch a movie or show then going out.
Q.6 Being an Indian we are so used to take Prasad at temples which are most of the time made from milk or ghee. What do you do in any such case?
A: I am an atheist so I don’t believe in god or power of Prasad. Sorry, I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s sentiments but just telling my views.
Q.7 Milk and honey have a lot of importance in Ayurveda. It seems impossible for veganism to become a trend in India. Any comments?
A: The problem with India is here people are vegetarian by religion and not by their own conscience, I believe vegetarianism should not be confused with religion and people should learn why they are the way they are.
Q.8 People are converting the vegetarians into non-vegetarians by saying all the dumb things. They always make fun of vegetarians so I cannot imagine how it would be for you to hang out with such people. How do you manage that?
A: Last I checked I have two ears one to listen and other to let go of all that is not required. My friends do this all the time we are together to agitate me, but I have learned to not respond to such people and slowly but steadily they have considerably reduced making such comments as they were not getting the kind of reaction the expected
Q.9 Has it ever happened that you are hungry and there was no food available other than milk 7 or eggs (This is a stupid question :p but still let me ask you).
A: Yes, this has happened quite a few times, I go to bed and sleep. I can control my hunger.
Q.10 What do you eat if you ever go to any restaurants?
A: I usually opt for south Indian food if I have to eat outside but even then I make sure that no ghee or butter is used because here in north India no dish is completed without same. Or else I eat Chinese.
Q.11 Do you always have to plan the meal?
A: Negative, Mamma cooks very good food i.e chapatti and sabzi. When I am out on the ship I get to eat the same onboard as I usually travel on ships with Indian cooks.
Q.12 Your favorite Vegan dish?
A: Rajma rice
Q.13 Can you tell us some best easily available replacements for milk and milk products?
A: rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk (try roasted almonds milk that’s way better), soya milk.
Q.14 Will you suggest people adopt a vegan diet? If yes, then tell us few things that would really inspire people to adopt it.
A: Yes I have tried to tell people to try this lifestyle and to see the change themselves. One of my friends tried it but she left after two weeks. I think the vegan food industry needs to get better here in India for people to opt for veganism, if we can get companies like “so delicious” (a U.S brand) and dairy food products (that deals in vegan cheese) if we can bring companies like this to India it will be much easier for us people as we will have plenty of options to explore.
I hope you all will find this useful and inspiring 🙂
All you need is a strong will to do what is right. Take a step and make a conscious choice.
Also, I take this opportunity to share the link to The Eco Trunk – A cruelty-free Vegan Shop Who has recently launched VEGAN CHEESE. So hurry up Vegans and Non-vegans too and give yourself a nice treat of cheesey delights
– Pooja Navale