If you’ve been following me over the past 2 years, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to be more sustainable in my ways. Over the past few months, I have been trying to cut out all animal and dairy products from my life since the meat and dairy industry are extremely polluting and water-intensive. Being a vegetarian for the last 16 years, I only struggled with cutting out dairy from my life. But cutting out dairy was extremely difficult for me since I like my cold coffee in the morning, cheesy pasta, yoghurt based smoothies, chocolates, and cheesecakes.
Why cut down on meat and dairy consumption?
“Livestock are responsible for more greenhouse emissions than the entire aviation sector.”
“Feeding half the world’s grain crop to animals raised for meat, eggs, and milk instead of directly to humans is a significant waste of natural resources.”
- It is said that if the grain used to feed livestock was instead used to feed humans – we’d solve the problem of world hunger. Forests around the world are being cleared to have more agricultural land to grow feed for livestock. Overall these two industries are very problematic for our environment.
- Additionally, lactose intolerance is fairly common in adults and goes undetected by a lot of people.
- “Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.”
- Animal cruelty.
I have on and off tried to be vegan since last year but starting with Veganuary in January, I have tried to go fully vegan this year. As of now, I’d say I am 75% vegan and 100% vegetarian. At home, I am 100% vegan but when I eat out or travel, I give myself some leeway.
What was easy for me: Since I’ve been vegetarian for the last 16 years – it has definitely been an easier journey for me. I did consume hidden eggs in cakes sometimes but it was easy to let that go.
What took some effort to change:
- Replacing dairy milk in my cold coffee. I hate soy and almond milk – I started off with them but they taste SO bad to me. I’ve moved to oat milk now and absolutely love it. You can also consider making your own oat milk at home which turns out to be more pocket-friendly but it is time-consuming and has a low shelf life.
- Cheese. While I haven’t found a vegan cheesy cheese – I use tahini, cashew butter, oat milk, and vegan cheese powder to make my food cheesy. (I am not a fan of nutritional yeast) Funnily, I have also stopped enjoying cheesy pasta.
- Chocolate. I love chocolate and finding good and not so expensive vegan chocolate was a little difficult. I still haven’t found any cheap alternates – but it has been a great excuse to reduce my sugar intake.
- Sweetener alternates. I have been using organic honey as a sweetener for the last few years finding a not-so-expensive vegan alternate has been challenging. I’d love to move to maple syrup but the authentic ones available in India are terribly expensive. I use jaggery syrup as a replacement in some recipes.
- Vegan desserts. Every time I open the food ordering app, I feel super sad seeing the vegan options available. Again, I see this as a great opportunity to reduce my sweet intake.
- Eating out. It would be so nice if every restaurant would introduce some vegan options. I really don’t like imposing my veganism on my family and friends.
- Vegan skincare, hair care and makeup- Again, moving away from staples that work for me to vegan alternates has been hard. But I have found replacements for a few products and I am on the lookout for others.
My Advice: I never advise anyone to go cold turkey. It is a difficult journey to undertake and I recommend slowly cutting down your consumption. Set a target of being vegan 2 days every week and slowly increase it to a level that is comfortable to you. It isn’t about a handful of people being 100% vegan – that would have no real impact. But everyone reducing their meat and dairy consumption by 50% – that can help our planet.
Join me on my sustainability journey. Would you consider going vegan 2 days a week?
If you are looking for vegan alternates in India, I am linking some of the products that I use below –
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