Veganism promotes a compassionate lifestyle, aiming to omit cruelty towards non-human animals, by avoiding animal products in everything we consume. This includes abstaining from meat, eggs, fish, dairy, honey, leather, silk, wool and products tested on animals, as these industries thrive on the exploitation of our fellow earthlings.
We at Vegan Fest India are working to promote a vegan and sustainable lifestyle, by raising awareness through various creative genres including art, poetry, music and food.
People believe that dairy products are ethical, however, the reality is quite gruesome. Dairy is an industry that hijacks the natural biological functions of sentient beings and uses them for profit by forcefully impregnating cows and buffaloes. Milk is not required by human beings, which is proven by the fact that over 68% of the human population is lactose intolerant.
Not only, that, but dairy products are full of hormones, cholesterol, antibiotics, puss cells and other bodily fluids, that definitely cause more harm than good. We have been conditioned to consider dairy an important part of a healthy diet all our lives, but this is just marketing supporting an industry destroying our health and planet.
Dairy cattle, which are forcefully bred in unsustainably large numbers, create a lot of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which accelerates global warming drastically. Lack of proper management of the large amount of excrement created by farmed animals and runoff from monoculture crops grown to feed their huge populations, massively hurt local freshwater supplies and cause land and air pollution.
Animal agriculture also consumes 70% of all fresh water on the planet. These practices are causing mass deforestation (75% of all deforestation is caused due to animal agriculture) and the extinction of ecologically significant species, by destroying regions like grasslands, marshes, and old-growth forests.
This is why plant-based milk should be prioritized, especially by those who care about animals, the environment and their own health. Soy milk is by far the most common non-dairy alternative because its nutritional profile is quite similar to that of cow’s milk. Almond milk, Rice Milk, Hemp Milk, Cashew Milk and Coconut Milk are also really nutritious and delicious alternatives, that can easily and economically be made at home, as well as bought in stores.
Many brands are now launching vegan alternatives because there is increasing demand for these products as awareness about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle is growing and these companies foresee that the future is definitely plant-based, if not vegan. It’s wonderful to see consumers making more conscious and cruelty-free choices and brands responding accordingly.
Although a vegan lifestyle can liberate animals, help end world hunger, mitigate climate change, prevent deforestation, water shortages and pandemics and prevent chronic lifestyle diseases, it is a topic of intense debate both online and offline.
Veganism is often depicted in media as impractical, unrealistic, judgy, preachy, weird, unhealthy or extreme, which lead it to being viewed as controversial, even though it is an act of compassion, that can solve many of the problems we face in the modern world.
This is caused by many factors including cognitive dissonance, intensive marketing of animal products (directly and subtly), social conditioning, fear of change, fear of inconvenience, fear of social isolation and judgment by friends and family members and feeling judged and accosted by angry vegans (who do have very valid reasons for being angry, but end up hurting the movement rather than encouraging people to change).
Most folks believe they are nice people, and most of them believe that their friends believe that they are good people as well. Consuming meat is something people do without much consideration. It becomes a controversial issue because, at the end of the day, a plant-based diet restricts their ability to do whatever they want, without regard for the impact their actions have on others.
They fight so vehemently because losing the debate would imply a lack of compassion and imply that they are not being good citizens of the world. They make fun of veganism, usually not because they find it amusing, but because it needs to be amusing or weird for them to continue living in their comfortable bubble of cognitive dissonance.
However, as more and more people are becoming aware of the need for change and switching to a vegan lifestyle, it should be the priority of the existing vegan community to welcome them with open arms and make this transition easy.
We have found through personal experience that our fears that a plant based diet will be expensive and hard to follow, were unfounded. When we stop buying milk, butter, cheese, ghee, eggs, meat, fish and honey, to name a few, we end up saving a lot of money. We are then easily able to afford whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables that can not only be used to make alternatives to meat and dairy products, but end up making us feel much healthier.
We also enable ourselves to experience a world of interesting new cuisines and for those who prefer to play it safe and stick to what they loved eating as nonvegans, we have found that there is nothing that cannot be veganized. There are amazing YouTube channels with great vegan recipes and their numbers are growing steadily.
So, go ahead and keep your traditions alive through delicious food, just leave the cruelty out and you’ll feel better physically and spiritually while the planet indulges in some much-needed healing.
The key to being healthy is to have balance and make sure you’re not leaving out any food groups. Make sure you get your protein from soy, legumes, nuts & seeds, your fiber, vitamins, and minerals from fruits and veggies, and your complex carbs from a variety of grains and you’ll be just fine. Ask a nutritionist what supplements to take if you feel like it. We recommend that everyone try being plant-based for at least a month and when reaping the benefits, they’ll never want to go back. We didn’t!