Vegetarians and vegans have always taken a lot of flak with respect to their eating choices and habits. The most common question they are plaguedwith is “How do you survive on plants?”. Beyond the creative sarcastic replies and stutters wondering how to explain why they are herbivores, there is nothing much to offer. Or is there?
Here is a bit of statistics which can help plant-eaters answer the stream of questions including “How can you live without chicken? Try a leg piece”. Avoiding the consumption of body parts of animals (whether it is because of religion, culture, or tradition or because of personal choice) ensures a more sustainable world. It’s true, and there are statistics to prove it! – around a fifth of the GHG emissions globally result from animal products and livestock business (FAO). Also, consumption of meat leads to emission of 100 years of CO2 equivalent (this figure is still under debate). This is because of multiple reasons, including land use, fertiliser use, feed production, and other such activities. So, before we frame elaborate strategies for sustainable industry and energy options, it is probably time to advocate veganism and vegetarianism, because these emissions are more than that of industry and energy combined together!
The logic behind this is simple: reproduction. People reproduce. So animals are forced reproduce, because people need food to survive and the food is - animals. No harm in reproducing, people, but we have no right to force animals to do so. Fat juicy animals (infused with hormones and chemicals) are gassy, and their farts and manure used for their feeds produce a lot of poisonous emissions. According to a report of the Cornell University, maintaining and producing livestock is so expensive in all ways that a lacto-vegetarian (or even better, a vegan diet) saves money, time, and even the environment. Reflecting on the impact of the livestock business, we find that we literally raise to kill!
So think twice before asking the following questions when you meet a vegan or a vegetarian:
1) But plants are living things, too! When you eat them, why can’t you eat animals, too?
Well, plants do not have the sensory system to detect pain even if they are living beings. At least they don’t suffer and bleed when we pluck them to eat!
Great, but we like living in the mystery of the unknown.
3) So, how do you survive when you’re outside India? On salads?
Oh, we are so grateful that you are so concerned about our survival all of a sudden. We have full access to a wide range of sumptuous dishes. There are raw vegans, too who improvise a lot and come up with wonderful recipes and are perfectly happy! In fact, we not only survive but also make way for the survival of future generations by doing our bit – having sustainable eating habits.
All that said and done, I am a vegetarian. But my friend, Shasvathi Siva, has gone a step further and turned vegan, and is also making a difference in the vegan food market by introducing her own brand of cheese, butter and milks which are cruelty free. She runs this business out of Mumbai, and her venture is called “Cowvathi”. She also has a very supportive family which helped her pursue her dreams in a country like India, where ghee, milk and curd are staples.
Find the link to her blog here. And you can order (only Mumbaikars for now, but I am sure she will expand her business) your vegan dairy products here.
Let's do our bit, people!