We are celebrating World Vegan Day 2018 today. World Vegan Day commemorates the holistic benefits of switching to veganism. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from consuming any animal products, including milk, curd, eggs, cheese, honey, and meat amongst other derived products. While this may be a popular concept in quite a few foreign countries, it has started to trend in India too. Health enthusiasts are constantly evolving and beginning to understand the importance of health foods and nutrition. There are many who are adopting the vegan lifestyle to either lose weight, improve their overall health or to address environmental concerns. Surprisingly, most of our everyday Indian foods are vegetarian cum vegan. So, you don't have to go out and buy yourselves canned vegan foods; instead just prepare your usual meal and get going.
(Also Read: Does Being Vegan Really Help You Lose Weight?)
Here are foods that you may love and may consume on a daily basis, but if you are looking at converting to veganism, you must avoid these:
- Ghee, or clarified butter, is a by-product of milk that we Indians are obsessed with and cannot do without.
- Some breads like bhature and naan are made with yogurt.
- Paneer or cottage cheese is also a by-product of milk that has to be avoided, so chances are you may have to ditch your favourite palak paneer, matar paneer or kadhai paneer for being vegan.
- Most desserts are prepared using dairy products, especially, ghee, milk and paneer. So you might have to give up on milk-based peda, barfi, kheer, sevaiyan, milk-cake, rabdi, rasmalai, gulab jamun and shrikhand.
- Dahi or curd is also widely used in Indian dishes or is used as accompaniment. Kadhi is made using dahi, so you may have to give up on it.
We list out some amazing everyday foods that you may have been eating without realising they are vegan!
All dals like masoor, arhar, moong, and urad ki dal are vegan; however, the tadka that you use has ghee in it, which is an animal product. It is best to not add ghee to it and instead just go for a simple vegetable-oil tadka to make it vegan.
Legumes and Pulses
Pulses like beans, peas, chickpeas, rajma or kidney beans, chawli or black eyed beans are all vegan. You can enjoy your plateful of chhole-chawal and rajma-chawal as long as you don't add ghee or curd to it.
You can include sabudana vada or khichdi (without the ghee), samosa, pakoda, pani puri or gol gappe, spring rolls, khakra, popcorns, chivda, potato chips, poha, namkeen sevaiyan, shakkar pare, namak pare, matthri, stir-fried idlis, missal pao and vada pao in your snacks.
Common South Indian delights
All vadas with coconut chutney and sambar, lemon rice, dosa, idli, upma, murukku, pesarattu, aloo bonda and banana chips can be enjoyed as all of them are vegan. You must, however, avoid eating curd rice and curd dosa or perugu dosa that are curd-based dishes.
While breads like naan and bhatura use curd in some cases; therefore they don't make it to the vegan list. In fact, plain rotis, parathas, puri and kachodis are all vegan unless you don't cook them with and apply ghee on them. You can enjoy stuffed parathas like aloo ka paratha, vegetable paratha, gobhi ka paratha, and mooli ka paratha. Avoid paneer ka paratha as it has a cottage cheese stuffed in it.
While most Indian desserts are milk-based, paneer and ghee-based; therefore, they don't make it to the list of vegan foods. However, you can still enjoy amazing jalebi, gulgule, malpua, gajak, chikki, petha, and meethe chawal among others.
We Indians are heavily dependent on dairy and dairy products; however, if we are looking to switch to veganism, we would have to say goodbye to all things dairy.