The vegan or veganism, a word often come in debates/discussions. This particular term coins decades back. But it took many years to come in mainstream media. As the earlier scientific studies consider vegan & vegetarian food the same. However, fea w years changes their perspective.
In this article, we will discuss what this vegan is. Or what veganism actually is? And the debate going behind this. A few years before, the vegan word is in wide use. Becoming a part of the discussion in the context of diet & meals.
From the conventional vegetarian & non-vegetarian sections in our society. The vegan group builds its own identity. In their reports, United Nations publishes in 2010 that vegan is the future. However, working on this, speed up in recent years only.
Although the vegan society forms in 1944. Its history is about 100 years back. When people stop themselves from consuming meat, dairy & other animal products.
There is evidence of about 2000 years back. This shows that people deny animal products. Be it Indus valley, Babylonian, or the historical Egyptian civilization. It traces vegetarian food consumption.
But in these few years, people start accepting the concept of vegan food. Across the world, people leave animal food. Hence it shows that Indian people move towards vegan food.
India is the top exporter of dairy products in the world. However, the growing popularity of vegan foods can be a threat. Generally to the Indian meat & dairy products industry.
Vegan Food Culture
People adopt the vegan food culture basically for three main reasons:
1. Cruelty towards animals
2. Impact of non-veg products on the environment
3. Good impact on the health of vegans in comparison to vegetarian & non-vegetarian consumers.
Besides, there are some scientists/biologists/nutritionists that believe that we don’t know the long-term effects of vegan food.
Who are Vegans?
Vegans are those who cannot see. And can’t resist any kind of cruelty towards animals. That’s why they avoid it. Sometimes boycott animal products also.
Vegans don’t consume foods like meat food, seafood, eggs, honey, dairy products, & milk too. In fact, they don’t even wear clothes. That contains any animals synthesizing material.
Veganese also believes that animals too have a right to live in. Should have the same freedom as humans. Thus, the consumption of meat/dairy products is a matter of environmental concern.
Difference b/w Vegetarianism and Vegans
Many people are in confusion between vegetarianism & veganism. Since there are primary differences between them. The main difference is that vegetarianism doesn’t consume meat products. Yet they consume eggs & dairy products.
Vegetarians also use products other than food. Neither vegans consume nor use animal products.
They argue that any kind of production. Whether it is food or any other stuff. Animals have to suffer. Such as in slaughterhouses, poultry, etc. Hazardous to the environment. Along with that, they state the health benefits of being vegan.
Veganism in India
Netizens & social media in India are quite active on veganism. Also, they have excitement over this. During this, veganism got highly in trend. As we got to know about vegetarians, non-vegetarians & veganism. The scenario and its impacts regarding veganism are as follows:
For a long time, the “vegetarian capital of the world”. India is moving towards a plant food product industry.
For centuries, Indian dairy products are in a keen meal. Every Indian family but the picture now changes. Because a larger number of people are shifting towards vegan diets. Usually, social media plays an important role.
Sharing of videos, images, & incidents of animal cruelty. Over social media platforms. Influences people to shift towards veganism.
Many famous celebrities drop dairy products from their diet. Because many vegan influencers are gaining attention on social media. That in turn, increases the number of vegans in India.
To sum up,
Growing demands for vegan-friendly food products. Make restaurants/food companies change the menu & products.
However, in India, the consumption of plant food products is on a large scale. But keep in mind that ghee/butter/cheese are dairy products. Veganism also boycotts these items.
Substitute products of many e-commerce websites/stores have come. With the alternative to dairy products. By providing a wide range of vegan products.
Considering all this, we can’t neglect that India is a diverse country. Where people of diverse cultures live out the majority of non-vegetarians. Therefore, we can’t come to a conclusion. That India completely adopts the concept of veganism.
Move forward in the journey of veganism
There are many challenges in front of India. In only 2018-19 itself, India produces 187.7 million tonnes (18,170 crore liters) of milk. Making it the largest producer of dairy products in the world.
During the last 5 decades, per capita, milk consumption of India increases from 110 grams to 394 grams. Dairy products have an important part in food & lifestyle.
A large section of the non-vegetarian population lives in India. According to NHFS 2015-16, about 48.9% of men. And 42% of women in India consume chicken, meat, and fish weekly.
On a large scale, the Indian government conducts many surveys. Which shows that only 23 to 37% of the total population is vegetarian.
Talking about vegetarianism
People in India with vegetarian food habits find malnutrition problems. As per research by the Indian Journal for endocrinology & metabolism. Deficiency chances of vitamin B12 are maximum in the vegetarian population. Since vitamin B12 comes from the non-vegetarian food source.
IJEM studies that,
Deficiency of vitamin B12 in the population of the main cities of Haryana.
Marco Springman, a senior research scholar of environmental sustainability. And public health at the University of Oxford, London UK asserts that the vegan diet could be the healthiest diet of all till now.
However, out of studies conducted on vegans. It comes forward that deficiency of vitamin B12 in vegans found again and again. But it fits on other criteria.
Adopting veganism poses a certain potential health risk. Certain nutrients are found only in animal sources. While the problem of malnutrition in India. Has an existing stunt growth for years. But it’s due to other factors. Such as open defecation & poor maternal nutrition, etc.
Therefore linking malnutrition with veganism is not appropriate. Since the veganism effect in India conducts a survey. That does not come to any clear conclusion as of now.
Benefits of Being a Vegan
Being veganism reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Several researchers conclude that more & less consumption of plant & animal products. Has a good impact on health.
David Rogerson, a researcher from Sheffield Hallam University, Conducts a study on the effects of dietary intervention. Generally, on physical health. Found that veganism can be good for health. Keeps you away from health risks.
Since the consumption of animal products in veganism creates the problem of obesity and cholesterol in the body. David Rogerson also says that this happens. Because plant products are full of antioxidants, phytonutrients & nitrates. On other hand, animal products have pro-inflammatory fats.
Carbon emission & climate change is the biggest challenge in front of us. For this influencers/environmental activists around the world. Repeatedly raise an awareness campaign. By gathering everyone’s attention towards them. A similar pattern was witnessed in India.
After the US and China, India is the largest emitter of carbon emissions, in the world. Obviously, India will also face climate changes. Such as uncertain rain, melting of glaciers, and global warming.
To tackle this, the United Nations accepts a solution in 2010. In the report of the International Panel of Sustainable Resource Management. United Nations Environmental Program suggests shifting to a vegan diet.
This report tells that people around the world tackle the consequences. Like hunger, fuel, poverty, and climate change. Then there is a high need to shift to a vegan diet.
By 2050, the world population will be close to 9.1 billion. And for this population figure, meat and dairy products are unsustainable.
Oxford University Study,
Other than this, a study by Oxford University tells that people consuming animal meat are more responsible. For 2 times dietary greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison to vegetarians And also 2.5 times in the case of vegans.
The study also states that people who consume animal meat above 100gm daily. Contribute around 7.2 kgs of CO2 per day to the environment. Whereas vegetarians & vegans contribute around 3.5 kgs & 2.9 kgs of CO2 per day respectively.
Although, the dietary emission of meat-eaters is around 100 times more than vegans. This does not end here, veganism carries some cons also.
However positive impacts of veganism on health and on the environment are witnessed. But the positive impacts don’t convince the scientists. Still, they are looking for more shreds of evidence.
Even after the surveys on vegan athletes and citizens. The scientific evidence is still not enough. In order to draw a satisfying conclusion.
Scientists also find that when they carry out the survey on vegans. More cases of hemorrhagic stroke were found in them. As compared to non-vegetarians. But the vegans in these surveys were less in numbers. So it doesn’t draw a firm conclusion.
Belief on Vegan Diet
Vegan Society believes that in a vegan diet. Their stomach efficiency is more. As well as helpful in eliminating the risk of cancerous diseases. While comparing to the diet of non-vegetarians.
However, experts have their opinion. That they don’t have any concrete statement. To accept this claim by vegans. In the US, a study on cancer generally relates to the gastrointestinal tract. Implying that there is no difference between vegans, vegetarians & non-vegetarians.
Few other studies were on colorectal cancer. Didn’t found out any substantial difference in comparison to non-vegetarians.
The Big Question?
There is a curiosity in the general public. That for how long vegans can plan a healthy diet. Plant diet practice can’t manage nutrients & vitamins in the correct quantity. Leading to may or may not chances of deficiency in the body…..