Veganism is a practice of excluding animal products in one’s diet; it is a big step forward in taking Animal Rights to a new level. Vegetarians generally refrain from meats buts vegans don’t consume milk or any dairy products. It is not just the diet. They also avoid wearing fabrics like silk and leather. It is challenging to be a vegan in India as dairy is a major part of our diet. On the occasion of World Vegan Day, this week on Animal Instincts, we have practising vegans- Soumya Reddy, Shrikavya and Vinay talk about how veganism has changed their lives.
Soumya, an animal activist and restaurateur has been a vegan for 12 years. Although she was born into a family where non vegetarian food was preferred, when she realised that animals were often tortured for their meat and milk, she decided to turn vegan. Now she is the proud owner of one of Bangalore’s few vegan restaurants, Paradigm Shift. “Being Vegan has made me a healthier person. For the last 12 years, I have noticed that my energy level has gone up a lot. Earlier I had a lot of acne but after becoming vegan, within a few months, my face cleared up. Apart from being beneficial to health, veganism also helps the animals. Milk is easily available to us but we rarely stop and think about the condition of cows”.
Shrikavya, who runs the NGO Anibin, also fights for the rights of cows, “I have always been lactose intolerant, I just didn’t know what to call it back then. My family is vegetarian so I never ate meat either. I started working for animal rights in college. Once on my way to college, on Mysore Road, I saw a cow fall off a truck that was transporting them. The cow was gravely injured. In 2012, as I began investigating more into the matter, I spoke to a few veterinary doctors and what I learnt shocked me. The cows are artificially inseminated to start lactation as soon as possible. This is the equivalent of rape for cows”.
Vinay, who is also an activist, is also part of the organisation, Vegania. He talks about the health benefits of being vegan, “I used to weigh 140 kgs. After I became vegan, I started losing weight. I had more energy, my blood sugar level had become stable and in two years, I lost 63 kgs. Now I have no trouble maintaining my weight. I did miss dairy sometimes but upon researching, I found that almost all dairy products have supplements today. In place of milk, I drink either soy milk or coconut milk which is pure vegan. Bangalore has a few Vegan restaurants where I go on weekends. There are grocery stores which cater to vegans specifically so it is not difficult to balance our diet. It feels good to be a part of something that saves our cows. I learned that male cows are often killed because they don’t give milk and their flesh is sold as beef. Female cows are often given steroids so that they reach puberty early and are almost immediately inseminated. Once their milk production becomes low, they are killed for meat.”
– Sowmya Reddy, Shree Kavya and Vinay for Animal Instincts