Why Am I A Vegan?


Let me make this clear at the outset: I did not give up meat because I hated it. On the contrary, I enjoyed not just eating but cooking with meat. I grew up in a home in India where meat and fish were on the dinner table several times each week. And given that my dad and my stepmother were great cooks, it was impossible not to grow up loving those foods.

I gave up meat and fish and all other animal products, including dairy, eggs and honey, because I finally made the connection between animal cruelty and the food we so thoughtlessly put on our plates. Of course, I knew all along that meat comes from animals. But like many others, I guess I chose to not think about the tough realities that lie behind the neat packages of meat that we toss into our grocery carts: about the terrible and short lives of the birds and animals raised to feed humans; about the cruelty of the ways in which their lives are terminated to turn them into “food”; and above all, about the needlessness of it all. Humans don’t need to eat meat to survive: a vegetarian diet is not only more than adequate to fuel the body, but studies have time and again shown that it is healthier to eat a plant-based diet, compared to a meat-based one.

What’s more, because it takes several pounds of grain to create a single pound of meat, an insistence on meat by a few of us means starvation for many, many others around the globe.

As someone who loves to cook, I have gained a lot by becoming a vegan. I’ve become more experimental in the kitchen, and I discover and eat new foods every day. While I still primarily cook Indian food- and believe me it is not at all difficult to cook great Indian vegan food- I also love trying out recipes from other parts of the world- and, of course, veganizing them!

I find that without exception, the vegan meals I make are far healthier than the meats I used to cook before. What’s more, after the first few weeks had passed, I have never ever craved meat or even dairy products like cheese that I thought would be hard to live without. I now crave fresh, vibrant vegetables, a steaming bowl of miso soup, vegan cookies flecked with vegan chocolate chips, hot vegetable biryani garnished with crunchy onion, crispy dosas, or crunchy tempeh “crabcakes”…the list goes on.

My refusal to participate in cruelty against animals does not stop at food. As a vegan, I do not wear clothes or carry accessories made from animal products: no leather, silk, or wool. I do not use cosmetics or other products that are tested on animals or contain animal ingredients. And believe me, it is not only not difficult to do this, it makes life far simpler. All you need to do is read the labels, and in the process you also become a more aware consumer.

I became a vegan for ethical reasons, because I loved animals and I realized I couldn’t be a hypocrite that loved some animals and thoughtlessly contributed to cruelty against others. But there have been many, many rewards. I feel healthier, I keep my weight under control more effortlessly, and I am mentally more focused than ever before. But the best reward of all has been this: I feel much better about myself, knowing that I am doing all I can to lead a conscious, non-violent life.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

92 thoughts on “Why Am I A Vegan?

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priya

    July 28, 2008 at 9:41pm

    Very very proud of you Vaishali!. Very well written and you show the reality. I have come across people who say that eating plants is also killing plants. So what answer can you give to those senseless reasonings? and I don’t. Very powerfully written and I hope this will inspire many more people.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    July 29, 2008 at 5:14pm

    Dear Priya- Thanks for your kind words. As for those who argue about killing plants- humans who eat only a plant-based diet still kill far fewer plants than those who eat animals because animals have to be fed many, many more plants to create just a small amount of meat. One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “Feeding plants to animals then eating the animals is like filtering water through a sewer then drinking it”

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Erika

      August 10, 2012 at 9:54pm

      Dear Vaishali,
      I just love your favourite quote. I was looking for a good one to add to my facebook page. I just started taking the 30 day vegan easy challenge … hope to stick with it more than 30 days!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Anonymous

      March 6, 2013 at 11:51pm

      I loved reading your reasoning for becoming a vegan. I just started down this path based on a bet with my 12 year old daughter. Then to keep motivated I started to research. It’s startling to face the realities that these animals face before they are sacrificed for food. I live in the south, born and raised, and never thought I would give up fried chicken. Until I started seeing documentaries about chicken factories. My husband disagrees and thinks that the Bible supports why we should eat meat. Hmm, I just feel a lot better by going down the non-violent, happy, kind path.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    HAREKRISHNAJI

    August 16, 2008 at 4:16pm

    I had given up non-veg many many years back. Then recently I learned about vegan lifestyle on http://www.kasakay.blogspot.com and it appeled me so much to turn myself to Vegan. And I must say I am happy about it

    I feel Plants do not have nerves system like animals , so it’sdifferent than eating animals and birds.

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Cristie

    October 7, 2008 at 4:17pm

    Thank you for such a clear, thoughtful description. It makes me consider my own life slightly differently because I too love animals.

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Dennis the Menace

    December 3, 2008 at 8:36am

    Dear Vaishali,

    I should probably be sleeping right now since it’s almost 1 AM over here in the US. But I stumbled upon your unique recipes on my search to make basmati rice for the first time! I love how simple your recipes are, using easily accessible ingredients! I agree with you in the cooking area… after being vegan, I have become such an aware individual, and I am eating all sorts of delicious foods that I would never have eaten if I had not become vegan… being vegan is much easier than most people make out to be… it just takes a bit of effort but it is completely worth it! Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Dibs

    December 5, 2008 at 9:22am

    Hello Vaishali. Its nice to read your views. I am a born vegetarian, but my hubby can only be described as carnivourous!! I usually have no arguments when it comes to ‘killing plants’. Now thanks to your post I have some ammunition :-)

    I started baking recently and, to be honest, I actually felt bad for yeast!!

    I find being a vegetarian difficult enough while travelling or dining out with friends…but vegan seems even tougher! I also cant imagine my life without diary! My morning coffe, no ghee on my rice, no butter, no milk, no curd..and ya no cheese too!!! Phew!

    Will follow your blog and see if I can try vegan for a week! It will surely improve my health!

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Chai

    December 11, 2008 at 4:02am

    Wow Vaishali, Well said! I was born vegetarian, with a dad who used to feed ants,(outdoors, of course), was an amateur bird watcher, and who shunned white sugar way before the world started going the vegan way. Despite all this, I convinced myself egg was vegetarian since it was unfertilized, because I loved cakes, but living for 5 years in Hong Kong really woke me up. Buying my groceries in the local markets instead of supermarkets, for more variety, I could not ignore the seafood shops where I saw the life of fish snuffed out with the blow of a flattened knife, the meat shops with their red lighting to enhance the redness of the meat and the insides of animals hanging from hooks, the lifeless barbecued geese and piglets, and turning around at some noise, to find a huge pig, split wide open and disemboweled, just 1 foot from me. I guess you could say that the visit to the market was like visiting the abattoir. The anger at such senseless killing, my pride at not being a meat-eater, also made me take a good look at myself and my hypocrisy. I have given up eggs, gelatin, rennet, bone whitened sugar, silks produced by killing the worms, and leather. Makes me feel better. And glad to have company, after all these years of being given funny looks.

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    December 11, 2008 at 10:21pm

    Harekrishnaji, Cristie, Dennis the Menace, Thanks, all, for your kind words.

    Dibs, I too loved milk in my tea and coffee, but I find soy milk makes a great substitute and is actually an improvement. And there are some wonderful vegan butters, yogurts and cheeses now available.
    I’m glad to hear you want to try going vegan at least for a week- good luck with it, and feel free to write if you need any advise or help.

    Chai, Thanks for your comment, and kudos to your dad! It’s always wonderful to hear about the few among us who saw the light, so to say, early on. I only wish there were more like him.
    Kudos to you too for choosing a cruelty-free lifestyle. Your description of the market made me shudder- I can only imagine what a horrific sight that would have been.

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Dibs

    December 22, 2008 at 10:04am

    Thought I should share with you! Just bought my first vegan milk. I don’t love soy, and to my delight I found brown rice milk. Its really yummy just as is. Must try tea and coffee and see!

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    fitforfree

    January 8, 2009 at 8:06pm

    I enjoyed reading this, and appreciate your ethical reasons for foregoing meat, leather, and all animal products :-)

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Srikanth

    January 23, 2009 at 11:16am

    I am glad to see a fellow desi vegan. Despite being a land of gazillion vegetarians, veganism is not hot in India at all. Your conversion and concern are all the more commendable for you were a meat eater. Two thumbs up!!

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    PBlog

    February 6, 2009 at 3:22am

    Dear Vaishali,

    Stumbled upon your cabbage kootu recipe while “googling” for it! Then i went on to read your post on Veganism.
    Great writing! I have been a vegetarian all my life. I cannot call myself a vegan since i take milk and relish cakes (my weakness!)
    A couple of years back, i had a health checkup at my office and though i was a little on the “healthier” side, i was told by the physician that i was still very healthy since i led a vegetarian life.
    My colleague on the other hand had not so good news. We were sharing an apartment at that time. When we came home, i told about my results and she went off on tirade about how us vegetarians and vegans seem to think that eating meat is the most horrible thing to do. Her counter argument was that we are even more cruel and horrible since we eat plants who don’t even have a way of expressing their pain when they are uprooted from the ground.
    That was then….and recently, i came across an article on the internet that was written on how plants can feel just like us.
    I am not being a Devil’s Advocate here and nor will i eat meat becuase of this..but just to think…is it really that we are more cruel in killing plants…?

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    February 6, 2009 at 6:35pm

    PBlog, Thanks for your thoughtful message. Here’s what I think: It takes 16 pounds of vegetable matter, or grains, to yield one pound of meat. In other words, a cow would eat 16 pounds of grain for each pound of meat you could harvest from that cow (or lamb or pig). Therefore, even if we vegetarians kill plants, we kill far fewer plants than meat-eaters do.
    Second, and more important, there is no evidence that plants have a nervous system. So the argument that plants feel pain is completely without basis, and in my experience the only one that every meat-eater has in their arsenal to challenge vegetarians (and it’s a tired old argument by now).
    Hope that helps :)

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Mridula

    February 24, 2009 at 6:04pm

    Hi Vaishali,

    I always try the recipes posted on various blogs, but never comment. But I HAVE to comment here coz otherwise you would never know and I want you to know that “I AM YOUR FAN!” :) Thank You very much for having this blog up!

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    April 15, 2009 at 9:25am

    Vaishali, what a cool site!

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Ryan

    April 27, 2009 at 11:15pm

    Hello Vaishali, Thank you for you article it’s really an inspiration. Just under two years ago I became lacto-Vegetarian, but recently decided to go Vegan, because of how cruel the Dairy industry is. I was not born Hindu, but I have eventually came to identify myself with the Shakti path of Hinduism. I have been finding it really difficult to say that cows are sacred, yet support the Dairy industry. It’s a shame that I can no longer eat prasadam that is either not fruit or I didn’t create myself.

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    May 29, 2009 at 2:27am

    Hi Ryan, Thanks, and glad you decided to go vegan. You’re right– we Hindus revere the cow and treat dairy products as a gift of the cow, even as we turn a blind eye to the cruel practices of the dairy industry. I loved dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt, but when I saw pictures of what cows go through so we can have them, I was permanently turned off. I don’t miss them at all now.

  18. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Deepika

    June 11, 2009 at 5:35am

    This is a wonderful site, Vaishali! I was born a vegetarian and am a deep animal lover myself. I find it hard to comprehend the wastefulness of modern meat packaging. Irrational maybe but sometimes I see these neat stacks of packed chicken dated some months back and I think that these chicken could’ve been alive and running around instead of stashed in some deep freezer for months together. It seems cruel and unnecessary.

    Thanks for visiting my blog because I now got to know yours.

  19. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    July 16, 2009 at 4:14pm

    I was very impressed with your blog. I appreciate its upbeat nature and your writing style. I have been a vegetarian for many years, and have my husband eating vegetarian for half of his meals now. I am in the process of turning vegan and am discovering new ways to bake without eggs and dairy. I found your information to be very helpful.

  20. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    July 22, 2009 at 9:07pm

    In my opinion being vegan is too extreme in many ways. Taking out cow milk, butter, ghee from diet is like living tastelessly. Its not good for health as well. Farming is developed so that human labor can benefit animal existence and in turn humans can derive some food out of it without harming animal. Variety is spice of life and these basic animal products are source of it. I am a proud lacto-vegetarian and it make more sense to me.

  21. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    July 23, 2009 at 12:46am

    Anonymous, thanks for sharing your view and I’d really appreciate a name next time.
    Since you identify yourself as a lacto-vegetarian, I can see why you think it would be difficult to adjust to a vegan diet. I ate meat, so by your own argument I had greater variety in my diet than you do, so arguably I should be feeling more deprived. But as I say in this post, after going vegan, I did not miss the meat one bit– in fact it repulses me now. What’s more, so do dairy products which I once thought would be difficult to cut out of my diet.
    My blog has hundreds of recipes for food that’s delicious, and having been an ominvore at one time, I can testify to the fact that each one of these tastes as good as, if not better than, what I ate in my days as a meat-eater. If you go through Holy Cow! and many other wonderful vegan recipe blogs out there, you will certainly see that vegan food is not tasteless at all. Vegans are more prone to exploring unusual foods and we have much more variety in our diet than a lacto-vegetarian does. What’s more, there are all sorts of dairy substitutes available now that are just as good for the real thing, but far more compassionate, for those vegans who miss dairy products. Vegans also tend to me smarter– there are studies out that show this :)– and most are very knowledgeable and careful about planning their diets so they are healthy. Soy, for instance, is a much higher quality protein, and healthier, than milk.
    I am also guessing you are likely an Indian, since lacto-veetarianism is a proud tradition in India. If so, I’d like to remind you that the Hindu belief that milk is a cow’s gift is sadly misplaced. Dairy cows are among the worst-abused animals in the animal-food industry, and very often die premature deaths– or are killed for meat prematurely– making it far from a gift and more of an evil.

  22. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    MunMun

    July 28, 2009 at 5:01am

    Hi Vaishali, this is a great blog. I am a lacto-ovo-vegetarian and I am trying to become vegan. We recently moved from US to India. I find that there are very few vegan dairy substitutes in India. In US supermarkets were flooded with Rice milk, Brown rice milk, soya based yogurt, vegan cheeses or even vegan hot dogs and burgers and vegan meat substitutes. Whereas in India you get only soya milk and tofu which are expensive and not very fresh. So it gets harder to be a vegan in India. Its lot more easier for lacto-vegetarian than vegan over here. I just wish more vegan products like miso, tempeh etc were available in India too.

    Also, is it safe for small kids to be vegan, will they get enough nutrition by being vegan.

  23. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    July 28, 2009 at 3:28pm

    Hi MunMun: Thanks for stopping by and kudos for considering a vegan diet. I hear you: we certainly have more options here than one does in India. That said, I hardly ever cook with meat substitutes because I’m not a big fan of tempeh or seitan. In fact, tofu and soymilk and, to some extent, textured vegetable protein (similar to the soy nuggets you find in India) are the only substitutes I use.
    I know of many vegans here who raise their children as vegans, and they are perfectly healthy, but before one puts a child on a vegan diet, one should consult with a nutritionist or doctor to make sure he/she gets the right balance of nutrients through the foods chosen.
    There’s often a myth that vegans are unhealthy, but I always ace my blood tests and health checkups. When I first started seeing my current doctor, he was trying to convince me to eat some animal protein. Now even he no longer does. :)
    A useful source of information direct from the medical profession on the healthful qualities of a vegan diet, including for children, is the Web site of the Physicians Committed to Responsible Medicine Web site: pcrm.org. It’s one of my favorite reads.

  24. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Ambica

    August 4, 2009 at 4:12am

    Vaishali,
    Love your blog. We eat mostly vegan food due to allergies in the family. It’s always a treat to see flavours form all over the world on your blog. I am hoping you will be able to help me with this one: I need doggie vegan recipes for Bodhi, the latest addition to our family. Any ideas would be appreciated.

  25. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    August 4, 2009 at 9:18pm

    Hi Ambica, thanks for your message and kind words about the blog. Bodhi sounds really cute :) I love the name.
    Of my three dogs, I find Opie and Freddie readily eat foods that are meat-free — rice, boiled veggies, nuts… but I don’t really cook whole meals for them because their vet says its hard to balance homemade doggie diets. But I do make them peanut butter treats sometimes which all of them, including Lucy, love. It’s just peanut butter and whole-wheat flour and some soy milk to add enough moisture to bind the dough. I haven’t made them in a while now and am at a bit of a loss for the proportions, but let me try it again and I’ll post the recipe right here on the blog. Please keep in mind that some dogs are allergic to wheat.
    If you want to put Bodhi on a vegetarian diet, there are some doggie foods available off the shelf which are meat-free. I know Whole Foods has a couple of brands, and I’ve also seen something in PetSmart, I’m sure. I can’t vouch for how good they are. My dogs are not on a vegan diet– they eat canned dog food and kibble that contains meat. I ate meat when I first adopted them, and Desi thought it would be wrong to suddenly switch them to a vegan diet since they had no say in the decision. Lucy, especially, would also be tough to convert.
    Sorry I am not much help. But feel free to write in if you have any other questions. :)

  26. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Preeti Kashyap

    August 11, 2009 at 9:35pm

    I love this post..its simple and honest. I am a vegetarian, but going without silk, wool and leather is admirable! I loved meat too…but gave it up as I cldnt be a hypocrite too. So Kudos on this post! I am following your recipes really closely from now on :)

  27. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    ambrosia

    August 13, 2009 at 6:48pm

    Hi Vaishali, Greetings from Bangalore…. I love your blog. I “discovered” your blog a few days back and have read your recent posts and some older ones too. I adore the way you mix your recipes with food for thought for the soul! A part of me feels proud and calmed in the awareness that there are compassionate people like you who are breathing the same air just now!! I relate to your journey of becoming a vegan as I have just begun on one. I have been a vegetarian for the last 19 years (born in a non-veg eating family) and now my calling wants to take me further. My body is responding to the pulling off of non-vegan items like a dream.

    I am a great tea lover. And since the past few weeks I have been having black tea. I won’t say I “miss” milk tea but just wanted to find out from you whether you know of a vegan milk replacer available in India. I have tried soy milk but I wouldn’t like to repeat it :) Will wait for your opinion. Good to be able to write to you!

  28. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    ambrosia

    August 13, 2009 at 8:11pm

    One clarification :) I like and in fact have started to love soy milk as a drink but soy milk in tea is something I don’t look forward to.

  29. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    August 14, 2009 at 12:44am

    Preeti, Thanks very much, and kudos to you too for giving up meat. May our tribe increase! :)

    Ambrosia, I love the line “My body is responding to the pulling off of non-vegan items like a dream.” Very rightly and very well said :)
    Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I am a tea-drinker too, and hate black tea, but luckily for me I do like soymilk in my tea. I use the vanilla-flavored one which tastes great.
    As for non-soymilk options, I am not sure what is available now in India. But here are a couple of suggestions. Can you find powdered creamer? Some tend to be non-dairy, like Nestle Carnation Coffeemate which is available here in the U.S. Another option might be almond milk. I usually buy it in a carton, but you might try soaking about a dozen almonds in hot water for an hour or two, blending them, then straining, for almond milk? Add more or less almonds if you find it too thin or thick. I have never tried almond milk in tea, but I use it for sweets as a milk replacer and it works great and tastes wonderful.
    Hope that helps a little. Congratulations on taking the step toward a vegan lifestyle, and feel free to ask any other questions :)

  30. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    ambrosia

    August 14, 2009 at 5:05am

    Hi Vaishali, thanks a ton for the important tips and for the lovely words and for visiting my space too :) I have increasingly felt with every grey hair on my head that all one needs is the WILL to go for it, and all of our bodies will actually respond like a dream then. If people decide even before beginning that they “cannot do it” or live in suspicion and fear while at it that they will “never make it”, they actually never will! :) I think changing one’s food habits to include less and less “violence” on one’s plate can only be a progression of one’s being, never a regression. In that I really really like something that you said here – “Feeding plants to animals then eating the animals is like filtering water through a sewer then drinking it”!

    Since you say you like soy milk in tea, it has got me thinking – maybe I did not mix the milk with the water at the right time – I put it in boiling water!! Maybe soy milk in tea would taste differently and better if I make tea the English way. Let me try :) I will be on the lookout for a non-dairy creamer however. I had been using a dairy creamer actually before I went vegan coz liquid cow’s milk I never quite liked right from childhood.

    And I never knew that almond milk is actually made and so many things can be done with it! I am currently on the lookout for vegan cookies as I love cookies. And will you believe it, there is not a single one stop store in this city for vegan items! It is challenging but an exciting and deeply educative challenge nevertheless :)

  31. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Rashmi

    August 26, 2009 at 7:07pm

    Hi Vaishali,

    I have to say I really enjoyed reading your post and all the comments. I became vegetarian about 7 1/2 years back, when I was ten, because of a discussion in class that supported hunting. I remember you also mentioning somewhere that you had always loved animals but never wanted to think about the fact that meat came from them. So it was with me until 5th grade. I becamse very hardcore about it too, until I realized over the years that you can’t hope to convert anyone by being orthodox and forcing your beliefs on others, no matter how noble you feel them to be. So for a while, I actually gave up believing that veganism/vegartianism is the natural human diet (thanks to beyondveg.com and other arugments about human paleontology that are hard to beat). Nevertheless, I am still a convinced veggie. But I am glad to read your posts and feel a sense of support that it really does make practical sense in many ways to lead a vegan lifestyle. I should definitely try going vegan again.

    There is one thing that caught my attention. You mentioned how hard it is to be a vegan in India. This may be true if you are used to vegan food containing a lot of the dairy substitutes we get here in the US. But there is still quite a selection of dairy-free fare in Indian cuisine. My parents are from India, and most of our typical “odia khaanaa” does not have any milk products whatsoever. Or even foods from the south. Maybe if you’re just talking about sweets, but I’m sure there a few sweets that can easily be made with oil instead of ghee, like jalebis for example. I’m trying to imagine, if I ever did live in India, if it really would be all that hard to eat vegan, since there is a wealth of plant-based dishes there anyway.I guess I was just a bit surprised to see other testimonies.

    Anyway, I loved your site and will check back often!

  32. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    The Voracious Vegan

    August 28, 2009 at 4:08pm

    Another beautiful post! Your decision to go vegan is just like mine; I loved the taste of meat, just not the suffering behind it! To be a compassionate human being you must be vegan! Loving your blog…

  33. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    August 30, 2009 at 8:45pm

    Rashmi, Lovely to hear from you, and I agree that it is fairly easy to get great vegan choices in traditional Indian cuisine. Thanks for sharing your story, and kudos to you for living your beliefs!

    Voracious Vegan, Welcome. It’s great to hear from a fellow food-lover who shares my views on ethical veganism. Thanks for your kind words.

  34. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    casey

    February 7, 2010 at 4:11am

    I suppose I’m about to join the legion of people who are just flat out stoked to find your blog! I am yet another “born” vegetarian, born and raised by a fantastic omni mom. I have been vegan for the last 5 years, after about a decade of failed attempts (cheese was always my downfall).

    At any rate, I’m looking forward to reading your updates and I’m really looking forward to trying your dosa recipe this week. I have some great South Indian restaurants here in the bay area that are vegan friendly, but I’m excited to have a chance to make a giant veggie masala dosa at home!

    have a great weekend!

  35. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    uma

    February 19, 2010 at 1:02am

    Hi Vaishali,
    Turning vegan is difficult for me when it comes to milk in tea and milk based sweets… Also eating out becomes extremely difficult..

    Perfumes, cosmetics are something which I quit using long back after reading about animal testing…Leather, last i used was in school .. shoes.. tell me what would you substitute wool with?

    For now, i’ll try to become a vegan…

  36. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    February 22, 2010 at 3:31pm

    Uma, Kudos for trying! Turning vegan may seem like a challenge, but it is much easier than it seems. Milk substitutes are easy to find almost anywhere in the world now, and it is possible to make even Indian sweets with these substitutes that taste just as good. You can find a few recipes for vegan sweets here, http://earthvegan.blogspot.com/search/label/Indian%20sweets, and in my roundup of the Sweet Vegan event here: http://earthvegan.blogspot.com/2008/11/hats-off-sweet-vegan-roundup.html
    Eating out is not much of a challenge either. I don’t know where you are based, but here in the United States it is really easy to find vegan options at restaurants and there are some great, exclusively vegan restaurants in almost every city. Chefs will often make small adjustments if you ask for them. And in India, there is a plethora of choices with all the vegetarian restaurants.
    I can tell you for a fact that I’ve been eating much better since I turned vegan :)
    About wool, it is possibly the easiest of all non-vegan fabrics to substitute: sweaters made with acrylic or nylon fibers and other non-animal wool substitutes can be easily found anywhere, and are as comfortable. I wear them and stay warm even in Washington’s really cold winters. Even vegan coats are easy to find online and are quite reasonably priced.
    The idea that wool does not harm the sheep is just as full of holes as the idea that milk does not harm cows. Investigations by animal rights groups have found that sheep used for wool are horribly abused– the wool is torn off their bodies in large patches and chunks of flesh from their rumps are torn off without giving them any sedatives or pain relievers. I have seen videos of sheep whose legs are being chopped off even as the sheep is still alive– if everyone saw that, no one would want to go near wool again.

  37. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    uma

    February 22, 2010 at 4:16pm

    Vaishali,

    Thanks for replying back..

    I have one more query.. if all humans turn vegan, will there be a negative effect on the ecological balance..to be precise will the cow population will increase or overgrazing will happen?.. am still reading about this..

    waiting for your reply..

  38. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    February 22, 2010 at 5:19pm

    Uma, on the contrary. Most of the cows on earth today were bred specifically for food. These cows– called livestock– eat about 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States today.
    Were we to give up meat, there would be no need to breed cows in large numbers, and the cow population would drop dramatically. What’s more, most of the forest land cleared to produce grain for the cows could be reforested because we’d need far less land to grow food for humans who eat much less than cows do. And we could conquer world hunger–you have to feed a cow 16 pounds of grain for each pound of beef you get from it after it’s slaughtered. A pound of beef might feed two or three people at a single meal, but think of how many people 16 pounds of grain would feed, and for how many days?
    Going vegan is a win-win for us, the environment, and for the cows :)

  39. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    March 20, 2010 at 4:19pm

    Dear Vaishali
    I never get bored even if I read your posts n number of times. I do take soy milk in my tea and coffee but soy milk curdles. Any suggestion?
    Thanks

  40. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    March 21, 2010 at 12:59pm

    Hi Anonymous,
    Thank you — you are very kind! I am happy you’ve enjoyed reading the posts because I really love writing them. :)
    About soymilk in tea, are you by any chance heating it on the stovetop? I put the soymilk in a mug and first zap it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and then pour the tea or coffee over it.
    I am wondering if curdling might be a problem with some brands. I use Kirkland’s vanilla soymilk which I buy from Costco. It doesn’t curdle when I add it to tea or coffee.
    Lastly, and I am sure you’re already doing this, but do make sure that you refrigerate the opened pack of soymilk immediately because it does spoil just as milk does if left out at room temperature too long.
    Hope that helps :)

  41. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    March 21, 2010 at 3:30pm

    Dear Vaishali
    Thank you for the reply. I usually combine milk, water; microwave it and then add coffee powder. You are right, for tea I combine everything in a vessel and heat it on a stove top. Unfortunately I do not have Costco nearby my home. I faced the same problem with different brands that I tried. But not I will try your method.
    Thanks again

  42. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    March 22, 2010 at 12:51am

    Vaishali

    I tried your method and the Soy Milk did not curdle rather my coffee had a frothy texture that a regular cow’s milk would give.

  43. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Sharmila

    April 2, 2010 at 1:01am

    Hi Vaishali,

    I am absolutely thrilled at finding your website. I am a vegetarian and a die hard animal lover. I have mostly found myself alone when defending animals and their rights, where I would finally end up in tears. It is very reassuring to see an outspoken anti-cruelty supporter. Organic yogurt and cheese were the only vegetarian things that I was hanging on to, but you blog has inspired me to go completely vegan.

    Regards,
    Sharmila

  44. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    April 2, 2010 at 1:14am

    Hi Sharmila, Welcome! It seems obvious to us animal lovers that animals should have rights, but unfortunately we are still in a minority. Hopefully, that will change one day– as they say, never underestimate the power of one. :)
    Kudos to you for making the decision to give up dairy– I for one felt much better after I did, and I’ve never missed it. And I thought I couldn’t live without cheese!

  45. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Srividya

    April 13, 2010 at 4:52am

    Hi Vaishali,

    Its so cool to see a fellow-desi vegan! I turned vegan about 3 months ago and am loving it. I feel as if I am reading my own words as I read your reasons for being vegan. As someone mentioned, its quite easy to be vegan in the US. I love almond milk and soy milk. I am hoping to make the almond milk kheer soon for Tamil New Year. Love your blog and keep up the good work!

  46. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    April 13, 2010 at 3:11pm

    Hi Srividya, welcome, and it is good to hear from a fellow desi vegan. Early wishes for a happy new year, and hope you enjoy the kheer :)

  47. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Shankari

    May 30, 2010 at 8:37am

    Great effort Vaishali, both being vegan and this amazing blog! I hopped on here from Madhuram’s blog and have been reading your blog for quite sometime now :) Thanks for sharing all these wonderful recipes. I am going to bake the mango cupcakes today for my new neighbours!

  48. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Amanda

    June 15, 2010 at 10:30pm

    I love your recipes and was happy to read your reasons for being vegan.

    I was a vegetarian for 6 years. Started as a teenager. Then, after some travels I started eating meat again for about 5 years. However, it all disgusted me so much that I decided to become vegan recently and am so happy.

    I like your response to the plant question, as my husband recently said the same thing.

    I try too avoid too many soy products, too, so I like that a lot of your recipes don’t have highly processed soy products.

  49. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    June 25, 2010 at 8:57pm

    Shankari, glad you liked the cupcakes :) Thanks for the feedback.

    Amanda, Thanks, and welcome to Holy Cow! Always great to meet a fellow vegan :)

  50. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Deepti (Sharan) Shukla

    September 12, 2010 at 6:40pm

    Dear Vaishali,
    Your replies to the comments are as enlightening at the original post itself. When I read your blog the 1st time, it shook me hard…it took me a couple of days and lots of consolidation from my FB friends with whom I shared pieces of these facts. Right now, the only thing I am doing is creating more awareness by word of mouth.

    I also have a Q: My 21 month is having Almond Milk, because he has been diagnosed allergic to casein. He does not like rice or coconut milk and I have heard Soy is no longer the best alternative, since its highly processed, due to it being produces in such large volumes (due to its increasing demand)and it also interferes with hormones in humans that young. That leaves me with almond which does not have any calcium. Are tums / calcium tablets the only alternative I have to replenish his calcium needs? Or are you aware of any other sources?
    Deepti

  51. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    October 18, 2010 at 9:12pm

    Hi Deepti, sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I am no expert in child nutrition, but is your son eating any veggies and beans yet? Vegetables from the cruciferous family, like broccoli, kale, cauliflower are great sources of calcium. So is spinach and lots of other veggies. Beans are also a good source of calcium. I just looked up the Almond Breeze website and their almond milk is fortified with 30 percent of the RDA of calcium– as much as you’d get from a glass of milk.
    You’ve probably already done so, but it would be a good idea to get your pediatrician’s opinion on foods you can give your son to ensure his calcium needs are met.

  52. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    October 29, 2010 at 12:21pm

    hello Vaishali, just want to thank you and want to leave congratulations to you and your site!! i´m vegan since a few weeks and landed here by looking for new inspirations, and its very inspiring, what i found here! looking forward trying many of your recepts, yumyum. many warm greetings from a now autumnly, sunny germany, lake constance. Anja

  53. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    January 9, 2011 at 1:52am

    i find your site very touchy. i am glad that some are seriously concern to live their lives with true kindness not only for humans but for all the things around them. i feel the same way, for i love to keep my dwelling place (earth), and everything around me beautiful, peaceful and good.
    as for the killing of plants, plants needs pruning, they grow and produce more when prune. you don’t stop life in them. plants are the intended food for human, this is their purpose for existence. when you kill an animal they no longer can produce.

  54. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    January 11, 2011 at 10:16pm

    Anja, Thanks, and good luck!

    Anonymous, Welcome!

  55. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    January 31, 2011 at 9:56pm

    i just discovered this blog today, and i think its great! thank you! keep up the good work!

  56. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    VegTomato

    March 2, 2011 at 12:00pm

    Hi Vaishali,

    My name is Patrick and I am running a website, VegTomato, http://www.vegtomato.org/, dedicated to advocate veganism/vegetarianism among Chinese/Taiwanese community. Just found your blog and read your story which is so inspiring. I am wondering if I can have your permission to transalte it into Chinese and post in my website to inspire more people go vegan/veggie. I will link back and credit it to you.

  57. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    March 2, 2011 at 12:22pm

    Patrick, thanks, and yes, you can translate the post as long as you link back.

  58. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    VegTomato

    March 3, 2011 at 1:19pm

    Vaishali,

    Thank you so much for the permission, and defenitely, I will back to you for the credit.
    Thanks for your support!!

    Best,

    Patrick

  59. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Marty

    March 14, 2011 at 10:15pm

    I want to answer questions about non-dairy alternatives to tea and coffee, or my fav chai! Here in the U.S., aside from soy, there is almond, rice, oat, multi-grain mylks, and now Hemp and Coconut! Coconut and Hemp are both thicker mylks and lovely in teas!

    I’m not sure what you’d find in India, but perhaps because fresh coconut is so available there, you could make your own. I do not have a recipe, but perhaps Google one?

    I an new to this site today, and I am happy I have found it. Unfortunately I am also gluten-free so I will try and make substitutes to your gluten grains.

    Blessings…

  60. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Savanah

    April 11, 2011 at 5:34pm

    Hi Vaishali, my name is Savanah. I am 13 and have been a vegetarian for about 6 years now :) recently i have been wanting to go vegan because i learned the reason people do go vegan :) I use to think you would go vegan just to be more healthy, but now i know the real reason and how dairy cows aren’t exactly treated the best. Same with chickens. Well my question is, how do you go vegan when the rest if your family doesn’t want to? (My Dad and oldest brother are vegetarian, but my Mom and my other brother are not vegetarian or vegan.) I really want to, but it just seems it would be harder if your surrounded by people who do eat milk and eggs and honey and all that stuff :) how did you make the change? did you just stop eating one thing at a time? or all at once? If you could answer that would be great :D I’m sorry if i spelled stuff wrong, I’m a horrible speller. Thanks again. :)
    ~Savanah~

  61. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    April 11, 2011 at 7:07pm

    Hi Savanah, you sound remarkable– I wish I’d had the foresight to go vegan when I was 13.
    I understand your dilemma– it can be hard to go vegan in a home when you are not making the primary decisions about the cooking and nutrition. The reason your family may be uncomfortable with the idea of you becoming a vegan is likely just that they worry about your health and whether you will get the right nutrients from plant-based foods. You might want to encourage them to read more about the benefits of vegan nutrition on great websites like http://www.pcrm.org, and about well-known people who have seen health benefits from adopting a vegan diet, like Bill Clinton. If you cook, you could try making some simple, healthy and delicious dishes to share with your family.
    In my case, I made the transition in steps. I stopped buying clothes, shoes etc. made with animal products first, then became a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and finally a vegan. I too live with an omnivore (my husband Desi does eat fish and chicken when he eats outside) but I think after worrying about me for a while he saw that veganism has lots of health benefits. I usually ace my health checkups, he — not always. :) Over the years he’s come to agree with me more and more that a vegan diet is a good thing.

  62. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Savanah

    April 11, 2011 at 7:45pm

    Thank you so much! :) and for replying so quickly too :) I will try to write again if i am successful :) Also, If there are any really good Vegan recipe web sites you know of, that would be great if you could tell me :) Thank you again,
    ~Savanah~

  63. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    April 11, 2011 at 8:06pm

    Savanah, There are some great vegan blogs in my Blogroll that you might find useful. Also, have you browsed through my recipe list (click the “recipes” tab at the top of the page)?

  64. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    TS =)

    September 12, 2011 at 6:07pm

    Vegan Indian food…awesomesauce. I stumbled upon your blog looking for a vegan halwa recipe (since going vegan, worried that I couldn’t enjoy Indian sweets…pretty much the only food I can’t veganize, since most of the food I grew up with IS vegan…just don’t put ghee on the rotli).

    Question: what’s your fav recipe on your site? It doesn’t have to be healthy…I eat enough healthy food =)

  65. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    September 12, 2011 at 6:43pm

    TS, Welcome. That’s an easy question for me to answer– my favorite recipe on this blog has got to be My Dad’s “Not Mutton” Mushroom Curry, for many different reasons. One is that the dish always brings back great memories of my dad. The other is that it shows that a vegan version of a meaty dish can be just as tasty and not at all hard to come up with. :)

  66. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Small Footprints

    October 22, 2011 at 3:15pm

    I totally agree with you … and I’ll add another reason to “go vegan” … you touched on it briefly. Meatless meals are Eco-friendly. Producing one pound of meat takes many more natural resources than one pound of plant-based food … more land, water, etc. Many of our natural resources, like water, are not renewable and once used, they are gone for good. So, using less natural resources is good for the planet. Good for us, good for animals and good for the environment … sounds like a total win-win-win to me!

  67. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    October 26, 2011 at 2:18pm

    Small Footprints, that’s a great point to reiterate. Vegan diets are indeed all-round winners.

  68. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Bek

    November 6, 2011 at 11:14pm

    Hej Vaishali!

    I have been reading your blog ans I thinks it´s so great that you share your recipes, thank you very much! there is so many things I want to start trying (starting with the mango cheesecake!)

    I wanted to ask you something, since I am starting with vegan life style (I haven´t eaten dairy,egg or chicken for 3 months and hamm and some meat for a month, no leather, no wool nor silk in my garderob) How can I deal with my husband´s family? or friends? I mean, in family meetings and birthdays and stuff? They will surely won´t understand, I have experienced some awkwards moments when I had to start avoiding dairy and eggs due to my baby has milk protein and egg allergy (that´s how it all began) so I am sure it won´t be easy when I reveal that after nursing period I will continue with my vegan diet. What should I do in birthdays for example? should I take with me my own dessert? like a cake? I would love to hear your opinion.
    Thanks in advance!

  69. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    November 8, 2011 at 7:46pm

    Hi Bek, welcome! It can be hard to explain a vegan lifestyle to people who are either new to it or unsympathetic, but there are so many great reasons you can give them as to why it is the right choice for anyone who has the ability to think: a vegan diet is better for the animals, better for the planet, and better for your health. Animals raised for food live and die in deplorable conditions, and it is possible to eat deliciously and healthily without having to kill. Vegans also have a smaller environmental footprint because it takes far less grain to feed humans than it takes to feed animals who are then slaughtered for their meat. And very important, vegans are healthier– they typically have lower cholesterol and blood sugar than meat-eaters, they are often skinnier, and studies show they are likely to live longer.
    And yes, you should definitely cook and bring food with you when it is possible, so people who turn up their noses at the idea of vegan food can find out for themselves how delicious it is. Vegan cakes and cupcakes are usually better than those made with eggs and butter, and you don’t have to deal with that nasty, eggy smell. Eventually even non-believers will come around. :)
    Good luck with your vegan diet!

  70. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Mukta Tolani

    November 16, 2011 at 6:52am

    Hi Vaishali! I am a fitness professional, a yoga teacher & nutrition consultant.In my experience, a Vegan lifestyle is absolutely rewarding! Also, a question asked by Priya , which I have faced by people too, regarding ‘killing’ plants for our food being equally cruel to killing animals- Plants do not have a nervous system & so they would not feel the pain that animals would. Besides, its our biological design to eat plant based foods ( We do not have claws or Sharp teeth like carnivores do. Our intestine is much longer, our body Ph is alkaline & not acidic.SEVERAL more obvious factors reveal that we are not meant to eat animal based products) Glad to see your page. Here is my web address- http://www.radianthealthonline.com
    Regards, Mukta

  71. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Vaishali

    November 16, 2011 at 3:58pm

    Mukta, well put. These are all great reasons to eat a plant-based diet. Thanks for sharing.

  72. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Ashley

    April 15, 2012 at 11:47pm

    Hi Vaishali! I love love LOVE your blog… for the past few months most of the meals my family has eaten have come from your recipes. I’ve been vegetarian for fourteen years but became vegan about a year ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. What really tipped the scales for me was reading about how calves are permanently separated from their mothers 24 hours or less after their birth. It is well-documented by farmers themselves that these mothers will wail for hours and break their necks trying to get to their children. In my opinion, separating mammalian mothers and their offspring is one of the cruelest things we can do. This really struck me as a mother but I think even someone without (human) children can appreciate it – think of how attached we are to our dogs!

    I’m sure you already knew this but I rarely hear other vegans mention this specific argument and I didn’t see it in the comments here so I just thought I’d contribute another good reason to go vegan!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      April 16, 2012 at 7:35pm

      Ashley, thanks for your encouraging words — I’m thrilled you and your family have enjoyed the recipes! Thanks also for sharing that heartbreaking information about the inhumane separation of calves from their mothers. Cows are the gentlest creatures and it is appalling just how much cruelty we humans subject them to. Brings tears to my eyes just to think of it, and it gives all of us another great reason to adopt a plant-based diet.

  73. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    wayfaringteacher.com

    May 15, 2012 at 4:43am

    I started eating vegan food mainly for environmental and health reasons. However, the more I excluded animal products from my diet, the more remorse I felt for animals. Becoming a vegan has changed my perspective on animal rights, not to mention the quality of my own life.

    Have I mentioned that I love your blog? hahaha
    I started my own blog about a healthy lifestyle and a vegan diet. If you have time, I’d love to know what you think.
    Maria @wayfaringteacher.com

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      August 8, 2012 at 12:14am

      Wayfaringteacher, I couldn’t agree more. Good luck with your blog– it’s great!

  74. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    wayfaringteacher.com

    May 15, 2012 at 4:45am

    I started eating vegan food mainly for environmental and health reasons. However, the more I excluded animal products from my diet, the more remorse I felt for animals. Becoming a vegan has changed my perspective on animal rights, not to mention the quality of my own life.

    Have I mentioned that I love your blog? hahaha
    I started my own blog about a healthy lifestyle and a vegan diet. If you have time, I’d love to know what you think.
    Maria @wayfaringteacher.com

  75. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Ruby

    August 1, 2012 at 12:16am

    Reading your post made me happy that there are people who care about other species. Im vegetarian currently, I was raised to be vegetarian from the day I was born. I always try to avoid eating dairy products and eggs etc. But sometimes I do.
    I think it is important to at least acknowledge where the food on your plate comes from. A lot of people don’t give it a thought.
    I don’t understand how society let the meat industry get to this point. Far too many animals die every day, just to be put into packaging and on a shelf for people to buy as “food”. I don’t think that it is fair for one species to have its only purpose in life to be to serve another species even against it’s own will.

    Your recipes are great though. I love cooking nice food. Not only for myself but for my boyfriend, my housemates, my friends. It makes me happy to see my friends (who are meat eaters) enjoy cruelty free food.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      August 8, 2012 at 12:16am

      Ruby, you are wonderful for trying– being conscious about the food we eat is most of the battle won.

  76. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    sai

    August 19, 2012 at 11:07am

    Wonderful Vaishali! Thanks for supporting veganism in all the ways (food, clothes, etc) :)
    Sanatana Dharma is also against eating meat/eggs.

  77. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Kaye Brennan

    September 14, 2012 at 8:01am

    beautifully written X and exactly where I am coming from too – thank you

  78. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Therese Tisseverasinghe

    September 19, 2012 at 1:48am

    Thank you for writing this piece on why you are a vegan. I too am a vegan for the exact same reason. I think the hardest part is the social aspect, you know when you go out for dinner with friends and all you can order are the fries. However, thats a small sacrifice for the benefits of being a vegan. The best part is that I feel free of guilt from eating meat. I am hoping to share this message with friends–already I have a few who are starting to consider a vegetarian lifestyle. I know many of my facebook friends are sick of my posts about animal cruelty, but even if I could change just one person, its totally worth it!
    Thank you again for this blog!
    Therese

  79. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    druidsgarden

    October 11, 2012 at 6:29am

    Interesting article and whilst I’d argue that even a vegan diet is responsible for the deaths of many many micro-organisms and higher life forms to grow plants for our consumption, in the control of pests for instance and a diet containing wild game and organic vegetables is just as ethical, I do understand your reasons.

    There are ways to be able to consume products such as honey and eggs in an ethical way, you just need to find a small local producer who keeps bee’s as a hobby rather than one of the big commercial producers who practise mono-culture and stress the bee’s by moving them around to different crops or someone who keeps a few chickens in their yard/garden

    My biggest issue is with the consumption of Soy milk, soy isn’t actually all that good for you and especially if you are suffering with any sort of thyroid disease. http://thyroid.about.com/cs/soyinfo/a/soy.htm

    Soy should be eaten in moderation and personally I’d prefer to use a nut based milk rather than soy. I will use properly made tofu but I don’t eat alot of it and even those not suffering from thyroid problems should probably limit their comsumption to fermented soy products.

    Great recipes btw – I will be trying them out :)

  80. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Judy Liebeman

    March 23, 2014 at 6:25pm

    Just found you and so glad I did! Made your Banana cake–perhaps the best vegan dessert I’ve made to date. Looking forward to trying more. Plus, I’m vegan for the same reasons as you stated. Love learning about similar people!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Vaishali

      March 23, 2014 at 10:16pm

      Thanks, Judy, that’s just wonderful– you made my day. :) Great to meet another like-minded vegan and animal lover.

Thank you for visiting Holy Cow! I love hearing from you, so take a moment to say hello or tell me what you thought of this post. Thank you!