Veganism has been on the rise in the past few years with more number of people adopting this unique way of life. Those who follow this philosophy which rejects commodifying of animals, refrain from using animal products, especially in their diet. An ethical vegan not only avoid dairy products, eggs, honey, fish or meat in their daily diet, but also is cautious not to purchase or use other animal products like leather or fur.
It is said that the practice of veganism could be traced to about two thousand years ago. Pythagoras, the great philosopher and mathematician of Ancient Greece, hints about vegetarianism in some of his enlightening books. Veganism gathers prominence as it is against exploiting animals in any way. The vegan diet especially has gained popularity in the recent years. However, many are still unaware or confused about what could be included in a vegan diet. Many vegans even experience difficulty in finding vegan products or dishes in super markets and eateries.
Veganism in Kerala
It must be really surprising to realize that the authentic Kerala cuisine is mostly vegan. This is a speciality which can only be found in the local dishes of Kerala. In most of the North Indian dishes, dairy products, especially milk or cream, are one of the main ingredients.
Sambar, avial (barring some local variants where curd is added) and curries like erissery which is made with a mix of vegetables and coconut are purely vegan. One can even find vegan varieties in breakfast dishes like appam, dosa, idli, puttu and idiyappam. Potato curry, Bengal gram curry, sambar and chutney which make the perfect combination with these breakfast dishes, too can be included in the vegan diet. Local snacks like ada (rice patties steamed in banana leaf), kozhukkatta(steamed rice balls), or upma are all vegan. Food experts who concentrate on the traditional Kerala cuisine say that many of our dishes should be introduced to the world especially since veganism is so popular these days.
Many vegans who have been strictly following this diet say that they find it extremely hard to return to their older dietary habits. However, they complain that vegan products aren’t easily available as well. This could particularly create great difficulty for tourists, who are vegan, to find food of their choice while travelling.
There isn’t any need to introduce any alterations in the Kerala cuisine to make it more vegan friendly. However, an alternative cuisine has to be set up in the North Indian states to accommodate the followers of veganism whose numbers are significantly rising. Milk, cheese, butter, cream and paneer are some of the unavoidable ingredients in many authentic North Indian dishes.
Butter forms an important ingredient in many European cuisines as it adds the right kind of flavour and texture to the dishes. When butter is avoided, the dish loses it authentic taste and the age old recipes, its traditional allure.
Though experimenting in the vegan diet and products have become very common around the globe, traditional vegan dishes still holds its special status. Experts suggest that promoting the vegan factor in the authentic Kerala dishes can actually be an impetus to the tourism field as well. Vegan dishes, according to them, can attract thousands of vegans from around the world to Kerala, to relish these delicacies and enjoy the scintillating nature as well.
Founded in 1944, the Vegan Society, is a charity which provides information and guidance about the various aspects of veganism. They have ‘One World. Many Lives. Our Choice’ as their motto. There are many in America and Europe who believe that it is their duty to turn vegan to safeguard the nature and environment. Some people even pledge their commitment to this cause by adopting a vegan diet and life style for up to a month or a year. Veganism has significantly influenced the food and restaurant business as well. Many restaurants and eateries dedicated to veganism, where vegan dishes are exclusively served are being opened in large numbers, especially in all the major cities around the world. Besides, regular restaurants where different types of dishes and cuisines are available have either added vegan dishes or a vegan version of a traditional dish in their menu.