BEING VEGAN: TOWARDS FUTURE NORMAL
3rd Year MBBS, GMC- Goa.
“Being vegan is restrictive.”
“You don’t get enough protein when you’re vegan.”
“Being vegan is expensive.”
“Vegan diet is keto diet”
“Being vegan is too hard.”
“There are no health benefits to veganism.”
If you have ever been struck with the above thoughts and misconceptions, yourself OR have had the misfortune of having been bombarded with such statements by others, let me tell you, that I can fully relate with you!
Although the term “Veganism” is a commonplace now, it is defined as, “a philosophy and a lifestyle which 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; and promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment.”
While you’re here today, it’s 1st of November, so, HAPPY WORLD VEGAN DAY!!
The theme for 2022 is, Future Normal: To encourage non-animal lovers who are not yet vegan to switch, by making a connection between the farmed animals they eat and the companion animals they love and care for!
The world of Veganism, provides a plethora of healthy lifestyle alternatives that soar far beyond the conventionally accepted way of living.
Let’s have a look at some of these;
- What do vegans eat? A wide variety of cuisine- being richly diverse, it comprises all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses – all of which can be prepared in endless combinations that will ensure you’re never bored. Right From curry to cake to pizzas, all your favourite dishes can be suitable for a vegan diet if they’re made with plant-based ingredients! Hence, going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet.
- Going beyond just the diet, Vegans avoid exploiting animals for any purpose. From accessories, clothing, makeup products and bathroom accessories! Hence switching from leather /sued to animal friendly options like cotton and jute is a great help.
- Being a part of the Noble profession of doctors, one must keep in mind that The Vegan lifestyle DOES NOT recommend you avoid medication prescribed to you by your doctor – as a vegan who is looking after themselves the best you can do is ask your GP or pharmacist to provide you, if possible, with medication that does not contain animal products such as gelatine or lactose. Choose your Medical charities well!
- If you’re a medical charity supporter, you may check whether your chosen charity performs tests on animals. There are many charities that don’t currently conduct animal tests and many vegans prefer donating to charities that actively seek alternative methods of testing.
- Entertainment: Vegans choose not to support animal exploitation in any form and avoid visiting zoos or aquariums, or taking part in dog or horse racing. A great alternative is visiting and supporting animal sanctuaries that provide safe and loving homes for rescued animals!
- Environmental Protection: environmental vegans are people who avoid animal products on the premise of industrial farming of animals which is environmentally damaging.
The nutritional deficiencies that vegan diet enthusiasts are susceptible to ( iron, folate, vitamin B12) , can be overcome by the following easy measures.
- The best sources of vitamin B12 for people on a vegan diet include: Nutritional yeast,Yeast spreads such as marmite,Fortified soy and almond milks. Fortified cereals.
To ensure you are getting enough B9 or folate consume foods such as:Lentils, beans, peasDark, green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale,Asparagus, broccoli and avocados, Fruits such as bananas, mangos and oranges.Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, chia seeds and linseed.
Foods that have a high iron content include:Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soy, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale,Nuts and seeds such as cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, ground linseeds, chia seeds,Dried fruit such as apricots, figs and raisins, Quinoa.
Include starchy carbohydrates as the base of your meals like potatoes, pasta and rice.
Keep yourself hydrated with 6-8 glasses of water/fluid per day.
Include regular physical exercise in your daily routine.
Having said this, it’s time to ask ourselves: if it is now possible to live a life that involves delicious food and drink, delivers better health, leaves a smaller carbon footprint and avoids killing other creatures – then why don’t we?And if we do, then how do we?!
Although going vegan is nothing less than a cakewalk, one must remember that good things take time! If you’ve hung in till here, know that, you have already taken the extremely vital first step, towards your journey! Here are some handy key points to remember, as you embark upon it.
Take it slow: Keeping your final goal in mind, go at your own pace. It’s not a one size fits all experience and there are numerous approaches you can take. Make small changes throughout your daily routine and you may even take help from a certified nutritionist.
Keep learning and try new things! Remember that going vegan is a learning curve. To live as a vegan in a non-vegan world takes both courage and curiosity. Veganism has been around since 1944, but it’s still a relatively new concept to many people. It’s important you allow yourself time to learn about the various strands of veganism – and remember to pat yourself on the back along the way for the progress you’ve made!
Remember why. Keep reminding yourself of the reasons you’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle, and the benefits you’ve felt since going vegan. Keep yourself updated and informed using online resources, books and media content that keeps you motivated through visuals of positive changes that you bring in the lives of various animals and the environment.
Don’t give up. If you believe in yourself, vegan living will soon become second nature and you can always take help from online / offline like minded groups following the same lifestyle.
Stay focused on your target, but don’t forget to wholesomely LIVE YOUR JOURNEY! Bon voyage!