There are many daunting social issues we face in the world, some of the which make us feel powerless. Fortunately, making vegan choices allows us to begin tackling complex problems such as animal suffering, environmental degradation, poor personal health and global poverty. Every animal values his or her own life, and strives to avoid suffering and death. Farmed animals are as capable of feeling pain, sorrow and affections as house pets. The most important step one can take to end animal cruelty is to phase animal products out of their food choices.

A diet high in animal products is laden with saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics, disease producing pathogens and sodium. It has been conclusively linked to obesity, heart disease, stroke many forms of cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases that kill many millions people every year.

Veganism is a growing trend within the vegetarian community, and is considered a stricter form of vegetarianism. As well as not eating meat, fish or fowl, vegans extend this to not consuming anything that is derived from animals. This essentially means the removal of milk and all other forms of dairy from the diet. Some people confuse vegans with those who are lactose intolerant, but whilst lactose intolerant people avoid cow produce for allergy reasons, vegans do not eat anything derived from any animals, and this includes products such as goat’s cheese. Many vegans also do not eat honey because it is derived from bees. As with vegetarianism, veganism is a lifestyle that aims to minimize animal exploitation and suffering and maximize compassion. In practice, this means that strict vegans will avoid wearing even silk or wool.

For vegans, the drinking of milk is exploitative of the cow, who should feed her young that milk. To meet the demand for milk  cows are pumped with hormones to produce greater yields of milk and the unnatural and repeated pregnancies means that many cows cannot physically take this burden on their body. Many suffer from lameness and mastitis (severe inflammation of the udder). Gone are the days when milk for human consumption was simply excess milk the young calf did not want, and gone are the days when cows would roam green pastures.

Why people change their diet to Vegan diet: Answer is  “love for animals and for the planet”.  Many people who are aware of how badly animals treated for human consumption sake will change to vegan or vegetarian diet. Each year several billion land animals are raised and killed for food, Nearly all suffer abuse and misery on factory farms only to be gruesomely slaughtered in their early years.

Pigs: are denied the warmth of their own mothers and confine din barren called gestation crates that are so small where they are unable to turn around

Dairy cows: Are perpetually impregnated and forced to produce unnaturally high levels of milk, often leading to painful udder infections. They are exposed to extreme weather and treated inhumanly. Tey may be bled and skinned while still conscious after a  long transportation.

Chickens: Raised for meat are crowded in windowless cages where they cannot spread their wings. Chicks which are male will be suffocated to death by putting them in trash bags to death. Beaks of the chicks will be cut when they are very small.

Fishes and other aquatic animals are killed by suffocation bludegoning or skinned alive for human consumption.

Raising animals for food is responsible for more greenhouse gases, deforestation, water pollution, topsoil depletion and destruction of wildlife habitat than many other human activities. A 2009 report by the UN states ” a substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a worldwide diet change, away from animal products”

So what is vegan diet?

The term vegan was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England, at first to mean “non-dairy vegetarian” and later to refer to the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.” Interest in veganism increased in the 2000s, vegan food became increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants in many countries

A vegan diet includes no red meat, poultry, fish, eggs or dairy. A vegan lifestyle spares even more animals by choosing animal-free alternatives to fur and leather, avoiding forms of ‘entertainment’ that exploit animals, and choosing animal-free cosmetics and household products. By removing these products from a his/her lifestyle a person will be taking a huge step towards creating a better world.

Veganism is widely recognized as a valid, healthy diet that everyone can thrive on. The British Dietetic Association recently stated that, ‘…well-planned plant-based, vegan-friendly diets can be devised to support healthy living at every age and life-stage.’

Making the switch:

Moving to a plant -based diet is different for all people. Some people decide on spot, some transition happens overnight and for many it takes a little more time.

Making small changes to everyday meals is one of the easiest ways to increase the amount of plant-based foods in one’s diet. You could start by removing meat or dairy one day a week and go from there. Or you could try changing one meal at a time, having vegan breakfasts during your first week, adding a vegan lunch during week two and so on. You could even try changing one product at a time by swapping cow’s milk for almond or soya milk or butter for coconut oil or margarine. Make sure you don’t miss out on essential nutrients. Just because you’re vegan that doesn’t mean you’re 100% healthy, as there are vegan versions of almost every type of junk food you can think of. As long as you eat a wide variety of tasty plant foods, planning a healthy diet that incorporates all the vitamins and nutrients you need will be a breeze.

1) Contact your doctor before you change totally to a vegan diet

2) Start with “Meat free Monday”

3) Do it with your friends who are willing to explore veganism with you

4) Look for several vegan food options that will help you to understand diet and food.

5) Try vegan versions of milk, meat, ice cream, sugar, honey, paneer,

6) The important concern about vegan diet is ‘where do vegans get their protein’? So check out your protein source that is comfortable for you (ex. lentils)

Meatless mondays: As you may be aware, meat prices are at an all-time high. With meat becoming increasingly expensive, more and more people are adopting Meatless Mondays as part of their weekly menu plan. By integrating more grains and vegetables into your diet, you’ll start to notice some changes to your pocketbook as well as your waistline.

If you’re wondering where you should start, there are plenty of staples you’ll want to stock up on your next shopping trip to get things moving. Not only are they budget-friendly, but they’re also healthy and delicious. Here are some must-have items and a few recipes to get you started:

Beans: Beans are protein source for anyone looking to slowly transition out of their meat-eating diets. You can often find a variety of beans  in India.

Tomato : Easily available another vegetable

Grains: Whether you choose brown rice, quinoa, millet or wheat  it’s good to have these grains readily available to make rice or bread. When you eliminate meat, you want to substitute it with fiber rich grains and vegetables that will keep you fulfilled

Veggies: When you go for grocery shopping buy plenty of fresh vegetables that need in handy as you are cutting down on your meat consumption. Not only are they good for you, but they are very filling and fiber-rich. To stay on budget, look to see what veggies are in season and buy from street vendors.

Nut Butters: Nut butters includes peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter and more. Nuts are also a healthy source of protein. You can put them on almost anything and the best part is that kids love them.

Animal Protein and Plant Protein Compared

Source Protein Cholesterol Fiber Energy kcal
Soybeans, mature seeds, raw 36.49 g 0 mg 9.3 g 416
Pork, fresh, leg (ham) rump half, separable lean only, cooked, roasted 30.94 g 96 mg 0.0 g 206
Chicken broilers, or fryers, light meat, meat only, cooked roasted 30.91 g 85 mg 0.0 g 173
Chicken, broilers or fryer, breast meat and skin, cooked, roasted 29.80 g 84 mg 0.0 g 197
Winged beans, mature seeds, raw 29.65 g 0 mg 0.0 g 409
Turkey, all classes, breast, meat and skin, cooked, roasted 28.71 g 74 mg 0.0 g 189
Lamb, domestic leg, whole, separable lean only, trimmed to ¼” fat, choice, cooked, roasted 28.30 g 89 mg 0.0 g 191
Lentils, mature seeds, raw 28.06 g 0 mg 30.5 g 338
Peanuts, Spanish, raw 26.15 g 0 mg 9.5 g 570
Broad beans (fava beans) mature seeds, raw 26.12 g 0 mg 25 g 341
Finfish, salmon, Chinook, cooked, dry heat 25.72 g 85 mg 0.0 g 231
Beans, kidney, royal red, mature seeds, raw 25.33 g 0 mg 24.9 g 329
Mungo beans, mature seeds, raw 25.21 g 0 mg 18.3 g 341
Peanuts, Virginia, raw 25.19 g 0 mg 8.5 g 563


Veganism in India:

As of 2007, UN FAO statistics indicated that Indians had the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world. In India, vegetarianism is usually synonymous with lacto vegetarianism. Most restaurants in India clearly distinguish and market themselves as being either “non-vegetarian”, “vegetarian”, or “pure vegetarian”. Vegetarian restaurants abound, usually, many vegetarian (Shakahari: plant-eater, in Sanskrit) options are available. Animal-based ingredients (other than milk and honey) such as lardgelatin, and meat stock are not used in the traditional cuisine. India has devised a system of marking edible products made from only vegetarian ingredients, with a green dot in a green square. A mark of a brown dot in a brown square conveys that some animal-based ingredients (in addition to milk or its direct derivatives) were used.

According to the 2006 HinduCNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey, 31% of Indians (over 350 million people) are vegetarians, while another 9% consumes eggs.[14] Among the various communities, vegetarianism was most common among the Jain community and then Brahmins at 55%, and less frequent among Muslims (3%) and residents of coastal states. Other surveys cited by FAO and USDA estimate 20%–42% of the Indian population as being vegetarian. These surveys indicate that even Indians who do eat meat, do so infrequently, with less than 30% consuming it regularly, although the reasons are mainly cultural and partially economic.

In India, mostly vegetarians are lacto vegetarians; we do come across very few Vegans. People here are ignorant about animal abuse and animal ingredients in so many foodstuffs & clothing and other accessories. People need to be educated regarding Vegan life to stop these cruelties, which requires promotion and education of vegan life (healthy life-Compassionate life).  In fact, in India the concept of vegan diet reaching more people in the past decade. Thanks to PETA India and other organizations. Social media like Facebook is popularizing the vegan groups in various cities. So far the vegan groups has been established in major cities including capital Delhi.

For more information on Indian vegans visit following pages

Five Common Mistakes New Vegans Make

Whether you are a vegan for ethical reasons or for health benefits, it is not uncommon to find yourself confused when embarking on a vegan journey. Here are five common mistakes new vegans make and tips to avoid them:

#1 If it is vegan it is healthy: This is not always true. Most processed foods are 100% vegan, but are loaded with chemicals, calories, and are low in nutrients. Examples include potato chips, veggie burgers, and veggie hot dogs. Although these foods are sourced from plants, they are certainly altered from their natural state. These foods have been stripped of their natural nutrients and are presented in a form that is mostly devoid of antioxidants, dietary fiber and other beneficial compounds. All you are consuming are foods that will pack on the pounds with little nutritional value.

Tip: Consume whole, real, fresh and unprocessed foods.

#2 Not consuming enough water: If you switched from a predominantly meat-based diet to a vegan diet, your body will get adequate fiber from the variety of vegetables, fruits and legumes consumed. Drinking water helps the body to efficiently handle the dietary fiber, promoting regular bowel movements. When water intake is poor, it may result in discomfort while on a fiber-rich diet. The general recommendation is to consume at least 8 cups of water per day, but it is not necessary to adhere strictly to this recommendation. Consuming water-laden foods like watermelon, cucumber and so on can automatically take care of a healthy water intake.

Tip: The key here is to stay well hydrated without overdoing it.

#3 Not consuming enough food: Plant-based foods are not high in calories and are easier to digest. These are the two factors that distinguishes it from non-vegetarian food groups. Most often new vegans make the mistake of consuming the same quantities of food as they did during their pre-vegan diet. Plant-based experts recommend consuming whole and natural foods whenever hunger strikes, however it is important to note that the food should be wholesome and unprocessed, or less processed.

Tip: Reach for healthy, 100% unprocessed foods like raw fruits and vegetables for snacks to fill up in-between meal times.

#4 Giving-up prematurely: While on a new diet our bodies require a minimum of 3–4 weeks to adapt to the new style of eating. Most often people get discouraged while their body is still adjusting to a completely plant-based diet. Food cravings do not mean that you are craving for a particular food like meat, it is more often that body did not receive a particular nutrient such as fat. In such cases, consuming heart-healthy, whole nuts such as almonds, walnuts or seeds such as pumpkin or flax either as part of a meal or individually will certainly helps.

Tip: Practice mindful eating and listen to your body signals.

#5 Not keeping your doctor informed: While on a plant-based diet you may not need the same dosage of a given medication that you were taking before. This especially holds true for individuals that are on blood pressure and cholesterol medication. Please be aware that if you are still consuming foods that are processed, you might still be consuming additional sodium, sugar and calories that have little to no effect in helping to lower medication doses.

Daily Recommendations for Vegans Diet:

These recommendations address the nutrients which are of more concern in vegan than omnivore diets, but they are not everything anyone needs to know about eating for optimal health. If, in addition to the nutrients that are of more concern in vegan diets, you would like general information on eating healthfully as a vegan.

Where suggested below, “synthetic” vitamins and minerals are effective at preventing deficiencies.

Nutrient Recommendations for Vegans
Vitamin B12 Tempeh, miso, sea vegetables, and other plant foods are sometimes reported to contain vitamin B12. These products, however, are not reliable sources of the vitamin. The standard method for measuring vitamin B12 in foods measures both active and inactive forms of vitamin B12.
Calcium Soy or rice milk, fortified orange juice, sessame seeds, Tahini, Almond butter etc.
Vitamin D On days when you do not get enough sunlight -Sunlight is the source of Vitamin D
Iodine 75 – 150 mcg every few days -Salt
Omega-3s Flax seeds, chia seeds, Olives, Canola, beans etc
Vitamin A 900 RAEb for men; 700 RAE for women
Good sources: carrot juice, kale, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe
Protein 3 – 4 servings of high lysine foods which include:

  • legumes – 1/2 cup cooked
    • peanuts (1/4 cup)
    • beans – garbanzos, kidney, pinto, navy
    • lentils
    • peas – split or green
    • soyfoods – edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk (1 cup), soy meats (3 oz)
  • seitan – 3 oz (85 g)
  • quinoa – 1 cup cooked
  • pistachios – 1/4 cup
  • pumpkin seeds – 1/4 cup roasted
Iron Cross-sectional studies have found similar rates of iron deficiency anemia in vegetarians as in meat-eaters. Anecdotally, vegan men and non-menstruating women do not have much difficulty getting or absorbing enough iron, but vegan menstruating women sometimes do. Iron tips:

  • Eat foods high in vitamin C at meals to significantly increase iron absorption – citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, swiss chard, brussel sprouts), bell peppers (yellow, red, and green), and cauliflower.
  • Do not drink coffee, or black, green or herbal tea with meals; they inhibit iron absorption.
Zinc Good sources are legumes, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, bread, tempeh, miso, multivitamin or zinc supplement.
aIn foods, B12 is measured in micrograms (aka “µg” or “mcg”). 1,000 µg = 1 mg| bThe vitamin A content of foods is now stated as retinol activity equivalents (RAE).