Amid rise in bird flu, people veer towards vegan diet, clean eating

Nothing fancy, really

Busting popular myths surrounding veganism that’s largely pegged as a niche dietary option; Sagar N Mehta, Founder & Partner, Vegandukan avers, “People often think that replacing meat with vegan food that looks fancy is costlier. But that is not true. Eating vegan is much more affordable than eating meat, fish, or dairy. Your grocery bill that contains soy milk and tofu products will be lesser than that of a non-vegetarian or vegetarian on an average.”

Enthusing how vegan products are more sustainable, Sagar further adds, “The basic ingredients in most of the food items remain the same with small changes like the use of sunflower oil instead of ghee or the use of tofu or jackfruit instead of meat. These small changes minimize the amount of your grocery bill. Additionally, you can also make the soy milk or almond milk at home rather than buying the packaged ones.”

For the longest time, vegan diets were under scrutiny for its apparent lop-sidedness — given the popular speculation that one doesn’t get enough protein as a vegan. “This is, by far, the most common myth that needs to be busted! Plant-based proteins contain less saturated fat and a large quantity of fibre. There are several plant-based sources of protein which can be consumed for a healthy diet containing oats, quinoa, beans, spinach, tofu, lentils, and more,” opines Bharat Sethi, founder Rage Coffee, further adding, “There are many options and variants available for one to switch to a vegan-friendly diet. Plant-based products help in increased metabolism, provide high energy levels and give you an improved ability to focus.”

For those looking for ways to get started; taking small, consistent and feasible steps are key say experts. “Get started by replacing the milk in your morning cuppa with soy milk or almond milk. There are many health stores that keep a stock of plant-based milk,” suggests Indrani Sarma, founder Indulgence, a brand which curates artisanal, handmade range of products for health-conscious people especially those suffering from lifestyle disorders like diabetes.

“You could also alternatively start replacing one of your meals to a vegan meal and understand how your body reacts and most importantly, how your taste buds react to the change in dietary plan. Start looking out for options that will replace your iron, protein and calcium that you would have derived from meat and dairy the perfect example is Millets. Ultimately it is about getting enough calories, proteins and vitamins from a diet either vegan or no vegan. Try and include a lot of whole grains like lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds like flax, chia, almonds and green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli in your diet to get the required nourishment,” she says.

The lure of raw eating and weight-loss

While raw foods are what most people think of, of a plant-based diet; there’s so much more to it, enthuses Sagar N. Mehta. “Plant-based diet includes fruits, beans, whole grains, potatoes etc. which are cooked into amazing dishes like Mexican rice, lasagne, pizza, rajma chawal, chole bathure and what not! So, vegan food is all fun and scrumptious while also living a cruelty free life.”

Add to it, with it becoming increasingly common for people to make the switch to vegan for weight loss, experts refute the notion. “Many people switch to a vegan diet assuming they will lose weight. Unfortunately, it is not true. Losing weight needs a healthful choice and a balanced diet. If you follow a vegan diet and yet consume a large amount of fried snacks, will not lead to weight loss. It needs a planned diet and regular exercise to maintain your weight loss journey. Just by giving up on dairy and animal products will not help you lose weight,” concludes Indrani.

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