VOICES JUG SURAIYA S VAIDHYASUBRAMANIAM LT GEN (RETD) SYED ATA HASNAIN RAVI SHANKAR SHAMPA DHAR-KAMATH SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV BUFFET MAGAZINE PEOPLE WELLNESS BOOKS FOOD ART & CULTURE ENTERTAINMENT NEW DELHI SEPTEMBER 9 2018 SUNDAY PAGES 12 V for Vegan Veganism has been marked the top consumer trend in 2018 as more and more millennials turn ethical eaters by swearing off meat and dairy. Forbes predicts vegan is the new business of the year. By RAVI SHANKAR N immi Jain was not a vegetarian in spite of her surname. Having been introduced to the joys of a well-ground burger and a T-bone steak she had no intention of going over to the green side. At Harvard as a 27-year-old student, she made a casual friend in a young man from Oregon who liked Rajneesh enough to practice yoga. He had turned vegetarian recently and told her eating animals was bad for karma. Nimmi, who had studied in a posh Mumbai school and later went to college in Pennsylvania, believed in karma as much as Donald Trump believed in Mexicans. Her Rajneesh friend was an anti-foie gras activist, who over a glass of carrot juice and celery sticks told her about how ducks were treated brutally for the sake of epicurean gratification. Curious, Nimmi allowed him to take her to a duck factory some miles’ drive from Cambridge. Geese and ducks, especially Canada geese, were kept in small claustrophobic cages. Workers would thrust short pipes down the throats of male ducks twice a day to force down at least four pounds of grain and fat. The process is called “gavage”. Foie gras means fatty liver in French. The birds’ livers would expand 10 times their normal size, bloating their abdomens so much that they would often become self-destructive. Sometimes they would throw up and choke to death. Shocked, Nimmi turned vegetarian. According to the latest figures available (2014 Meat Atlas of the Friends of the Earth), there are approximately 375 million vegetarians in the world. Over 30 percent of Indians are considered vegetarian. Nimmi became one of them. She, like most millennials in the US, loved live concerts. Beyoncé was a favourite. When she heard the ‘Broken Hearted Girl’ singer was going vegan for 44 days before her concert at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Nimmi like a groupie decided to go in for her favourite singer’s 22-day vegan meal plan. It changed her life. She became a vegan. The ancient owners of her patronymic were among the first vegans of the world. Conscience eating, followed by many Jains since 6 BC, has become a food movement for the fashionable and the commoner alike. Vegans not only eschew meat, but do not allow anything that causes harm to a living creature to enter their body This list includes eggs, . butter, milk, wool, pearls and honey Vegans don’t wear leather, . fur, silk and wool. All animal products are taboo. Products with animal testing are not allowed. For many new vegans, it is the cruelty meted out to animals that made them take the plunge. Kochi-based yoga coach Sudakshna Thampi says, “I saw how cows, packed very tightly together, were transported in open trucks. They would travel for days without food or water before they were slaughtered. Weak and diseased hens after being turned into egg-making machines would be slaughtered.” All this cruelty made Thampi turn vegan. A dairy farm visit in Panvel, Maharashtra, changed 52-year-old Anand Siva’s life in 2011. “I accidentally tripped over a calf only to realise that he had “Veganism is here to stay. There are three main reasons: personal health and weight management; environmental concerns; animal welfare. It’s a lifestyle change which like all other changes takes some effort. More options are available now and the demand for organic and vegan food is coming up.” JYOTIKA MALIK, head chef, Olly—Olive’s All Day Cafe and Bar, Gurgaon been born that morning and left to die because being a male calf, he could not produce milk and was of no use to the farm,” shares Siva. His wife and daughter are vegans, too. When his daughter got married three years ago, it was completely eco-friendly “My daughter did . not wear silk,” says the proud father. Chennai resident Dhaval Chandarana, 32, became a vegan overnight. “I attended a workshop conducted by vegan expert Dr Nandita Shah and have been a vegan for over six-and-a-half years now,” says Chandarana. Last year, he opened ‘Earth Story’ that promotes all things vegan. “The response has been great,” he says. The items that find most favour are smoked tofu, vegan ice-creams and vegan crackers. “We also stock vegan lipsticks, shampoos, roll on deodorants, essential oils, etc,” says Chandarana. Bamboo toothbrushes, steel straws and designer shoes made out of micro fibre are also on offer. Then there are some like Shankar Narayan, who turned vegan after reading Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography “I have been vegan for 17 . years now,” says Shankar, an accountant. “My son also became vegan when he was seven and it’s been 13 years since,” says he. His search for other vegans led him to start the ‘Satvik Vegan Society’ in 2004 which is also when the practice of organising vegan festivals started. For 10 years now, the festival is being held at the Sthitaprajna Vegan Life Centre spread over three acres of land in Byndoor in Udupi district, Karnataka. This year, the festival was held on August 4-5 with 50 vegans and 100 non-vegans from all over India. Veganism is the new revolu- 600 percent increase in people identified as vegans in the US 350 9 percent rise in vegans in the UK percent of the population in Asia Pacific is vegan tion. Brands like Chetran’s in Pune offer exclusive foods such as soy milk and soy tofu paneer. White Club ice-creams and Roy’s Vegan Soy curd in Delhi have created a buzz. Rare Earth in Mumbai is seeing many footfalls. In Chennai, Marieen Vijay’s VeggyTABLE sells 14 kinds of vegan meat substitutes. The Ahimsa fest held at Juhu last year was a resounding success. So was the Mumbai Vegan Fest earlier this year. The international meal delivery service Just Eat has identified veganism as a top consumer trend in 2018. It reported that 33 percent of its partner restaurants now offer vegan options. In its December 2017 issue, Forbes says, “No longer relegated to the fringes of society where for so long it was mocked for being ‘weird’ or ‘extreme’, veganism is going mainstream. Finally recognised for its positive impact on sustainability and animal welfare without the need to sacrifice taste or style, vegan living is starting to become the norm.” In 2017, Kinjal Darukhanawala set up Wegan Foods in Mumbai that offers vegan cheese made using nutritional yeast—50g for `35. Bengaluru studentpreneur Abhay Rangan’s Goodmylk sells shelf-stable almond and coconut-based vegan milk and yogurt priced between `110-120. Similarly Delhi couple , Sheena and Tarun Jain started SAIN which sells flavoured almond milk priced `145-160 per bottle. Good Dot in Udaipur offers vegan mutton and a soy-like variant that come cheaper than the real goods at `135 and `65 a kilo respectively . Cowvathi in Mumbai, founded by former advertising professional Shasvathi Siva in 2017, sells vegan cheeses and dips. Vegan Bites, the tiffin service in Mumbai, is a veteran, catering to over 300 customers. Biofabrication is the new buzzword with leather alternatives being created from pineapple waste, apple peels, mushrooms, kombucha and wine. Add vegan silk. Luxury car manufacturers are experimenting on alternatives to leather. Tesla is saying no to animal leather. Manish Parekh’s brand Veg Shoes makes leather-free footwear from polymers. Suits made from linen, cotton, polyester and rayon-based fabrics are considered vegan. Finding vegan ties is a challenge, unless companies such as Jaan J and High Cotton come to the rescue. “Traditionally most Indian , cooking is vegan, barring the use of a little ghee while tempering,” explains Sruthi Harihara Subramanian, owner, Ashvita Bistro in Chennai. In 2015, reputed global market research and consulting firm Ipsos found that millennials are twice as likely to be vegans, especially in 18- to 24-year age bracket. Manav and Madhav Windlass, founders, Kiara Soul Kitchen in Delhi, say , “Veganism has shown an impressive worldwide increase from 2004 to 2018. Top regions include Israel, Australia, Canada, Austria, and New Zealand. There’s been a 600 percent increase in people identified as vegans in the US. In the UK, the number has increased by 350 percent. turn to page 2 The Vegan Society became a registered charity in 1979. In its memorandum and articles of associations, it defined veganism as: “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” How It Began This alternate food movement began in August 1944, when Donald Watson, an official in one of Britain’s Vegetarian Society branches, coined the word ‘vegan’ with the first three and last two letters of ‘vegetarian’ because, as he said it marked “the beginning and end of vegetarian”. To celebrate the founding of the Vegan Society, World Vegan Day is observed every November 1, the month declared by vegans as World Vegan Month. “Veganism is a growing trend, not only because of the ‘cool and fashionable factor’, but also because of the rising health issues. Vegan is not a cuisine; it is a diet, a way of eating. Vegan options can be derived from Indian cuisine after understanding the ingredients that go into a recipe.” ABHISHEK GUPTA, executive sous chef, The Leela, Gurgaon “A plant-based diet heals your body. My skin and digestion have got 10 times better. Since India is so new to the concept, finding substitutes to dairy products is difficult but efforts by startups and investors in making veganfriendly food, clothing and lifestyle products are leading the change.” ROSHNI SANGHVI, Vegan body builder, Bengaluru
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