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Go meatless this International Vegan Day 2018

Learn just how great a meat-free diet can be!

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

1st November is celebrated as International Vegan Day. It is a vegan holiday celebrated since November 1, 1994 – the anniversary of the creation of ‘The Vegan Society’. This day gives an opportunity to promote the benefits of a vegan diet to improve health of the mother earth.

Each year there are a number of festivals and exhibitions held around the world by vegan societies. They include special events, talks on the benefits of being vegetarian and conservation of animals. Cooking demonstration of vegetarian dishes is also a part of the occasion.

The term ‘Vegan’ as derived from the word vegetarian. It means to be on vegetarian diet completely. When the term vegan was created by Donald Watson, vegans did not consume even the dairy products. Later this extended to eggs and by 1951 veganism had become a movement of people who did not take part in the exploitation of animals. There can be many reasons for being vegetarians – health, concern about animal welfare, religious beliefs, use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock and fear of communicable diseases in animals. Emphasis on plant foods and sparing meat eating is associated with longer life and reduced health problems. Being vegetarian is powerful for health as vegan diets are naturally low in saturated fat, high in fibre and contain cancer-protective phytochemicals that help to prevent cancer. Becoming a vegetarian may lower blood pressure and beat heart disease. It may also prevent diabetes, gallstones, kidney stones, asthma and osteoporosis.

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For health it is important to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and good fats like olive oil. Meal planning is crucial here. It is the key to maintain balance of nutrients because while the carbs give you energy, the protein and fat can help you feel satisfied and full. Do not skimp on healthy fats like avocados and olive oil. These are vital components in helping you feel filled and contented. As a vegetarian it is easy to fall into the rut of just eating lots of carbs and cheese and a lot of vegetarian cook books tend to have complicated recipes with tons of ingredients. Pick ones which supply you with plenty for simple, fast and most importantly healthy recipes to add to your store. To realise the benefits of a plant based diet, you need two things – an action plan that gets you started and simple recipes that keep you going. You may discover a simpler and more effective approach to weight-loss while nourishing your lovely vegan self.

On this international Vegan day, get involved in vegetarian society campaigns. Spread the awareness of meat-free lifestyle. You may also start your own vegan group writing letters and e-mails. Take part in veggie chat sessions where you can make a difference for yourself and other vegetarians by asking questions and keeping your point of view. Many people are afraid that becoming vegan will mean a boring life of eating lettuce and lentils. Show them how great it is being vegetarian. Throw delicious and healthy vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner parties. Buy some vegan gifts for loved ones. Practical support should be given to the farmers and growers interested in transitioning to plant-based agriculture. Also subsidies should be awarded for transition to plant-based agriculture.

Veganism has not become viable overnight. It has become a choice of exciting lifestyle over many years. It has made the world a better place for all living things. If better health is your goal, be a vegetarian. Only you can restrict yourself to a vegan diet. Lead a true life and be proud of it. Be an inspiration for others. Model other vegans such as athletes and celebrities who have succeeded in bringing positive change in themselves by being vegetarian. Ask for vegan food anywhere and everywhere. By using your consumer power, you will encourage veggie producers to provide their product quicker in the market. Encourage vegan brands. You can make a difference by contributing your part in the drive of veganism. It really works!

Be ready to get mindful – be vegetarian. If you have already made the switch to a vegetarian diet, then avail the opportunity to spread the word to meat-eating society this Vegan Day.

Becoming a vegetarian has become more appealing and accessible, thanks to the year round availability of fresh produce and more vegan dining options.