People worldwide are recognising the devastating toll of the animal agribusiness on the environment, human health, and our collective sense of ethics. There is still a long way to go, however, the tide is turning. With vegan (non-dairy) variants of almost every food product and ingredient available, people are increasingly turning towards sustainable eating as their food preference.
The notion of living a vegan lifestyle as being an expensive one is nothing but a myth. India is culturally inclined to vegetarianism. Many are turning to vegan by excluding the dairy element in their daily diet. The growing inclination towards conscious eating habits, backed by health benefits is set to drive veganism as a way of life in the days to come, says chef David Edward Raj.
How does this eating habit help in keeping one's immunity in check?
Plants contain no cholesterol, unlike animals, they provide all that we need in terms of fiber to macro and micronutrients. Studies consistently show that people who eat fruit and vegetables tend to enjoy better health.
Research also suggests that vegans have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes. This reduced risk is partly because vegans are statistically leaner and much less prone to obesity than the general population, Raj, who is the Director - Culinary development and Innovation, Elior India, told IANSlife.
"The vegetables and spices we use in our daily meals are great immunity boosters which help us overcome the Covid-19 threat. It has been medically proven that including ingredients like mushrooms, tomato, bell pepper and green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are also good options to build resilience in the body against infections. A high amount of vitamins and mineral content found in them which helps the body ward off diseases and keeps one healthier."
Food items like ginger, gooseberries (amla) and turmeric are natural immunity supplements. Some of these superfoods are common ingredients in Indian meals and snacks. Several herbs like garlic and basil leaves help in boosting immunity. Seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds are excellent sources of protein and Vitamin E.
Veganism also contributes to nature in terms of reducing emissions into the environment. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, after beef production, cattle milk is responsible for the most emissions (20 percent) on a commodity basis, he points out. "The two major greenhouse gases that are emitting due to animal agriculture are methane and nitrous oxide, because of manure storage and the use of fertilizers, respectively. Hence, veganism as a lifestyle is not just caring about oneself but caring about nature as well."
How is veganism being accepted in the corporate sector?
Raj explains: "With the growing awareness of conscious eating along with the need to maintain healthy immunity, people are looking for a vegan option in corporate cafeterias. Also, one out of six of Elior's recipes is vegetarian that further turns towards veganism." Elior India caters to Fortune 500 companies across India such as Godrej, Goldman Sachs, Cognizant, Linked In, Ashok Leyland, Visa Master, Daimler, Pfizer, Cisco, MRF, Vellore Institute of Technology, Larsen & Toubro, Panasonic, etc."