Veganism has seen huge growth as plant-based eating continues to rise. A survey in 2019 found that 63% of Indians were willing to replace meat with plant-based options. That’s a large market in a country of over a billion people. While vegetarianism is well-established in the country, dairy performs a heavy role in the traditional Indian diet. Till recently, vegan choices were almost difficult to come by. But that’s starting to change. For instance, Evolved Foods has launched vegan options under its Alt Meat and Alt Protein brands, trying to replace chicken and paneer.
Advantages of Veganism
Given how healthy plant-based foods can be, it’s no surprise that more and more world-class athletes and other popular names are opting to eat vegan. There are various advantages of veganism.
- Vegan foods are rich in nutrients your body needs.
- Eating vegan reduces the risk of suffering from cancer and other diseases.
- Vegan food can boost your mood.
- Eating vegan can help you achieve healthy body weight.
- It can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Your skin may benefit too.
- Eating vegan can reduce the pain of arthritis.
Why it is not for India?
Milk is the most abundant crop in India in terms of value. At 6.5 lakh crore, it’s more than the total value of paddy and wheat put together.
From breakfast to dinner, you’d get milk in your morning tea, eat some form of curd for lunch, and pour cream in your daal. Mothers swear by a glass of milk a day for its many advantages and it almost appears impossible for North Indians to avoid ghee.
What is more important is the fact that the dairy industry is supposed to overtake the information technology sector as the biggest employment generator. Over the next decade, the sector is anticipated to generate 2 crore jobs yearly.
In such a situation, asking people to give up on milk might result in mass unemployment.
Additionally, 1 ltr of Cow Milk costs Rs.32/- while the same quantity of Soy Milk costs Rs. 240/-. That’s almost 8 times. Do you think the working class would be able to afford this? For some of them, buying 1 ltr of soy milk will cost them their entire daily wage.
So, veganism is mostly a rich man’s luxury. You can’t expect a common man to live off such a lifestyle.
If they really want to make plant-based milk affordable for the common man, it would require them to have more soya and almond plantations.
Impact of Veganism on the environment
There is no doubt that meat, beef, in particular, offers an unsurpassable contribution to the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also swallows more land and water and creates more environmental damage than any other single food product. But anyone looking to choose a vegan or vegetarian diet for environmental reasons may also want to consider whether there are some plant-based foods that also come with a heavy price.
Gentle fruits like blueberries and strawberries are often imported to Europe and the US by air to fill gaps left when local fruit is out of season. Research by Angelina Frankowska, a scholar at the University of Manchester, found that asparagus consumed in the UK has the highest carbon footprint compared to any other vegetable eaten in the country, with 5.3kg of carbon dioxide being produced for every kilogram of asparagus, mainly because much of it is imported by air from Peru.
There are other general points to consider when we think about food crops that can drive up the environmental impact. Artificial fertilizers account for at least 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the industry. The production of synthetic fertilizer emits carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane into the atmosphere, while their use on fields releases nitrous oxide, another potent greenhouse gas. Agricultural practices such as the tilling of fields also release large volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and help to speed up erosion.
The sustainability of veganism is still a question for India. Most of the supplements are easily available in places like Amazon, but yes, it will be on the steeper side. However, as and when this trend blossoms, it will lead Indian manufacturers to expand into this territory, and that will bring the costs down.
You can also check out how riding a bike can help your mind and body by clicking here.