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Why more Indians are turning vegan, and how they’re right

Like the rest of the world, Indians are waking to the physical, ethical and economic benefits of plant-based, meat-and-dairy-free food.

April 11, 2020 / 08:19 AM IST

This February, I attended a tasting session for an upcoming brand of oats milk. My table partner at the plant-based café Greenr in Basant Lok market was Bharat Goel, a 29-year-old consultant with a research firm who wore a badge saying ‘Vegan’.

He talked about why we need to change our food habits if we are to save planet Earth. He shared that, at the age of 19, he had had various health issues, including obesity. But after seeing a documentary on the animal-foods industry, he decided to turn vegan.

In less than six months, he had shed 30 kg along with all his health complications. And he has stayed fit since then. “Veganism changed my life. I have never been healthier,” he says. I’m a lacto-vegetarian like many north Indians, I told him. Aren’t milk, yoghurt, butter and ghee consumption an intrinsic part of our culture?

Palak Mehta Vegan India ConferenceHe replied without batting an eyelid: “Culture is made by humans. We can change it too. What was applicable to society thousands of years ago does not hold true anymore, so why are we holding on to those customs?”