Veganism in India: Veganism is not an alien concept today. Over the years, we have realized it is more than a fad diet - it is a lifestyle choice wherein you refrain from consuming animal-based products including dairy. Some are switching for social and environmental reasons, while some are opting for it to lead a healthier life. And we have various case studies across the globe, proving the goodness of veganism for overall health. Hence, to emphasize the benefits, World Vegan Day is celebrated annually on November 1. But the transition to the vegan way of living is not as easy as it seems, especially in a country like India where dairy and animal products play a major role in our daily diet.
This World Vegan Day, we bring you some easy alternatives for our everyday food ingredients that could help you adapt veganism, without making a huge change in the diet. Read on.
Is It Difficult To Be Vegan In India? Is Veganism A Feasible Concept In The Indian Diet?
Let's get it straight, Indians love their makhan, ghee, chicken, fish, etc. While you get a pool of vegetarian options in Indian cuisine, they are largely dominated by dairy products. This leaves vegans in India with a limited range of food options to choose from. Another major challenge vegans in India face is nutrition deficiency. By ruling out all animal and dairy products, they miss out on a large source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and other essential nutrients.
But keeping in mind the increased number of vegans in India (and across the globe), today we find various vegan alternatives for our everyday meals that compensate for the lost nutrients. Bangalore-based nutritionist Dr. Anju weighs in, "For the veg eaters in India, the major sources of protein, fibre, and other nutrients are dal, rajma green vegetables, paneer, milk, dahi et al. If the dairy products are ruled out, then one must ensure a proper, nutrient-rich diet, under expert supervision, to make for a healthy diet."
Also Read: 3 Best And Worst Countries To Visit If You Are A Vegan
Easy Tips To Adapt Veganism In India: 5 Vegan Alternatives For Indian Staples:
1. Vegan alternative for meat:
Mutton curry, chicken kebab, and more - you find a pool of delicious meat-based dishes in India. They are not only rich and flavourful but also load you with various essential nutrients including protein and fibre. If you plan to eliminate meat from your diet, then we suggest picking jackfruit (kathal) or soy chap instead for the same taste, texture, and nutrient profile. Here's a delicious kathal ki sabzi and a soy chap curry recipe to add to your vegan diet.
2. Vegan alternative for fish:
Fish is a staple in various parts of India due to its easy availability and rich nutrient profile. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that benefit our health in various ways. If you are looking for a vegan alternative that tastes equally good and is healthy as well, we suggest going for chole and rajma. These legumes are easily available across the country and contain equal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Click here for delicious chole recipes. Find the Punjabi rajma recipe here.
3. Vegan alternative for milk:
Trust us, you have been having vegan alternatives for milk forever - it's just that no one ever pointed it out to you! We are talking about coconut milk. We all have been using coconut milk in various Indian dishes to enhance the taste and texture. Besides, you can go for a simple almond milk as well. Fret not, you don't need to spend a fortune for the same. Instead, make it at home and enjoy fresh. Click here for a simple almond milk recipe.
4. Vegan alternative for paneer:
To put it simply, the vegan alternative for paneer is tofu, and today, it is easily available in various parts of India. Tofu is made of soy protein and gives a somewhat similar taste and texture to paneer. All you need to do is, prepare the gravy of your choice and add tofu to it, instead of paneer. Click here for some of our favourite tofu recipes.
5. Vegan alternative for dahi:
Have you tried vegan curd yet? If not, then it's time to give it a try. All you need to do is prepare vegan milk with almonds, peanuts, or rice. Let it cool and add broken green chillies to it. Let the curd set for some hours, remove the chilies, and refrigerate. That's it! You can use this curd to make kadhi, lassi, chaas, and more. Try it today!
Happy World Vegan Day 2023, everyone!
About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.