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Friday, February 3, 2023

‘The Basic Right to Live Freely is Often Underrated’

Name: Alisha

City: New Delhi

Instagram handle: @indianvegan_experiment

Vegan Since March 2020

A freelance visual merchandiser and stylist, Alisha loves everything about fashion! Being a part of the fashion industry, over time she has also learnt about the ruthless exploitation of animals for their skin, fur and bodies for human ornamentation.

Speaking to ‘The Vegan Indians’, she said, “Empathy comes naturally to me and I am glad I was made aware about sustainability aspect of the clothes we wear and natural resources used to manufacture them.”

On her journey towards veganism, Alisha informed, “It was an on and off relationship with vegetarianism, as for me, it usually depended on change of season. In summers, I was a vegetarian, and in winters, I turned non vegetarian. This was until two years ago.”

Journey Towards Veganism

“I became a complete vegetarian in 2018 and started transitioning towards a plant based vegan diet due to PCOS. Around the same time, I realised that the suffering and exploitation of animals is not just limited to fashion industry, but is prevalent everywhere, especially food and commercial agro industry. Moreover, these industries also contributed to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, which pose a serious threat to the human race. All these ethical and empathetic reasons came to terms with my consciousness, and now I am a pure vegan since March 2020.”

Alisha is an excellent cook and loves experimenting with a lot with vegan ingredients. She runs an Instagram page that features some of the most lip-smacking vegan dishes. On her inspiration, she said, “All my recipes are my own and are created in my kitchen with local ingredients available in the market. Being a vegan does not mean you have to spend on expensive gourmet. It can be a well thought and scripted budget with the best and freshest ingredients.”

Drawing differences between veganism in the west and in India, Alisha said, “Veganism has been a part of the Western culture from many years now. However in India, it is still in the trending phase as people are amused by this ideology but are not willing to adopt it. It is more of a lifestyle/culture-based transition that is synced with compassion, sustainability and ethics. Even for vegetarians it is difficult to transition into vegan as milk has been a core part of our staple diet since centuries.”

Does she notice a change ever since the pandemic? “Yes, things have changed post pandemic. People have become more vigilant about the environment and their surroundings. Eating an animal is a choice. The horizon of these choices has widened for some. People have now started avoiding meat and are thinking of embracing plant based alternatives.”

On whether India is ready for veganism, Alisha said, “India is definitely ready for veganism, provided that vegan product alternatives are available to masses easily. The awareness is increasing and so is the need.”

“Dairy is one thing that I also found the most difficult to leave. I am an avid coffee lover and imagining it without milk was the hardest decision I had to take. But I was at peace because no life was harmed for my coffee.”

Right to Live

“The basic right to live freely is often underrated. Dairy and its by-products are still marketed as healthy in TV commercials. However, if we look at medical, commercial and ethical aspects at ground reality, we would feel that it is wrong to consume it as it involves a lot of animal cruelty. I am an animal lover by heart and it pains me to see their suffering.”

“There are a variety of plant milks now available in the market and can be easily made at home too. Almond, soy, coconut, hemp, cashew, rice, oats, sesame, peas, moong, peanut – all can be used to make milk and the same can be used in tea, coffee, curd and paneer,” Alisha added.

Being so passionate about food, we asked her to give some tips on vegan diet, on which she replied, “There is no diet tip that I can advise as I myself do not follow any. Eating a whole plant based diet that includes whole legumes, grains, fruits, veggies and nuts is a key secret of health. Fad diets have never served the purpose of healthy living. Eat what is available locally and seasonally as it will not only improve your immunity, but also help support local small scale workers who are trying hard to make a living. Vitamins like Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and omegas can be ingested orally with good supplements as there is always a possibility of deficiency of these nutrients in vegans.”

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