Is your Instafeed filled with beautifully plated vegan dishes? Have you noticed more brands proudly proclaiming that their products are vegan? Are phrases like ‘plant-based diet’ and ‘vegan friendly’ peppering conversations you have with your friends? And has all this left you wondering if you ought to also, give veganism a go?
As a philosophy, veganism rejects the idea of commodifying animals, and vegans do not consume or use animals and animal by-products. Most evidence of a vegan lifestyle can be found in a person’s diet. But it is a popular misconception that being a vegan is just about giving up meat and milk products.
In fact, there are a range of varying vegan lifestyles in practice today. For instance, raw vegans only eat their food raw (not cooked above 45 degrees Celsius) and live largely on a plant-based diet. Whereas a Whole Foods Plant-based Vegan would consume whole products rather than food out of cans or foods that have preservatives added to them.
When you delve into the details, it’s clear that being vegan is about making mindful choices that are better for you and for the planet. If you’ve considered making the switch to a vegan lifestyle but you don’t really know where to start, here are a few practical suggestions that you may find helpful –
Understand why you want to do it
Adopting veganism as a lifestyle, by definition, means living with it every day. It may mean changing the way you’ve done something your entire life, like making a cup of tea. So, before you embark on this journey, take some time to understand the various facets of the philosophy. Look within to understand your own motivation to taking your life in this direction. Do your research on the impact of a vegan lifestyle on the planet – you can find plenty of documentaries, research papers and articles on the subject. Look for resources that are relevant to India. This should help either strengthen your conviction to turn vegan or open doors to other ways you can help the planet.
Find your version of vegan
As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of different versions of vegan lifestyles that can be adopted. Take inspiration and some advice from other vegans on social media but don’t feel forced to emulate them in every way – your circumstances may be very different from theirs. Factors like work demands, family needs, finances etc. all play a role in your lifestyle (vegan or otherwise).
Add before you subtract
If you decide to take the plunge into veganism, you’ve probably identified certain aspects of your lifestyle that you want to change. We recommend adding the substitute to your daily life before giving up on your usual choice. For example, if you’re planning to switch from regular cheese to vegan cheese, look for and try a variety of different vegan cheeses before crossing regular cheese off your grocery list. Similarly, soy milk may not work well for you so try other substitutes like oat milk before you stop buying your usual milk. We stick to things that we enjoy and building a lifestyle that you don’t find restrictive is a key aspect of sticking to a vegan lifestyle.