Veganism is all about being kind, explains Chirag Kenia, founder and CEO, Urban Platter, an Indian e-commerce brand.
And it all starts when you are kind to yourself first.
Living on planet Earth comes with a cost.
There were times when human beings were paying those costs through tribal wars and massacres just for survival.
However, after the agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, there was a major shift in the status quo.
In recent times, deforestation, global warming, depletion of natural resources, overpopulation are just some of the problems that are proving to be the beginning of the end.
Israeli American actor Natalie Portman who chose to be a vegan in 2009 said: 'Everyone has to find what is right for them, and it is different for everyone. Eating for me is how you proclaim your beliefs three times a day. That is why I eat the way I do.'
A vegan lifestyle is a bold and difficult choice. It is a choice that has the power to potentially change the world.
However, it can also be a daunting task, one which requires lots of guidance, patience and a clear vision.
Here are seven quick tips on how you can start on your own vegan journey at home:
1. Do your research
The Internet is full of Web sites and articles that will guide you about the benefits of a vegan diet, easy-to-use alternatives, ingredient functions, and most of all, recipes that work!
If you are still on the fence about making the move to veganism, maybe some first-hand experiences and testimonials will help you get over your block!
After all, you are the one that has to make the big decision and stick with it.
So you must gather all of the information that will help you stay on the right track and not give up because of failures.
2. Explore and experiment
Choosing a plant-based lifestyle will compel you to begin trying and experimenting with foods that you previously might never even have heard of.
It will give you several chances to learn about alternatives and protein-sources in different cultures and cuisines that have now gained global popularity.
Being open to new experiences will make it much easier for you to navigate the plant-based world through your diet and will help you develop your own style of eating and cooking.
3. Understand the ingredients
In vegan baking, cooking, and living, you will constantly be on the lookout for alternatives for animal-based ingredients and products.
Understanding the core functions and uses of your alternative ingredients will help you connect with your food better.
For example, understanding that flax and chia seeds in baking recipes can eliminate eggs from any recipe that doesn't even have a vegan version of it, will give you the confidence to continue experimenting and learning.
4. Build your pantry
Once you have gained an understanding of the ingredients, their functions, what you like and don't like etc, it's time to start building your very own vegan pantry.
We must make sure that we have a few important and essential ingredients such as nuts, seeds, flours, starches, and legumes as they serve essential functions in vegan cooking and baking. For example, legumes like lentils and split pea have immense protein value when consumed in the right quantities.
Starches such as potato and tapioca starch can help you thicken sauces and soups without adding cream and even help you make your own stringy cheese!
5. Don't be afraid of failure
The process of integrating a plant-based lifestyle is one that is a lifetime learning process and a path that will be filled with immense successes and plenty of failures.
This is one of our most important tips as being okay with failure is essential in any type of cooking, not just Veganism.
6. Consult your doctor
When you first make the switch to veganism, you must consult your doctor about the change in your diet as the nutritional intake between a plant-based and animal-based diet will differ immensely.
A doctor consultation will also put you on the right path to knowing which nutritional aspects you are lacking in and then cater your vegan diet towards those deficiencies!
7. Share your learnings
Veganism is a lifestyle. It's a constant learning process -- one that builds a strong community who are dependent on each other's learnings, failures, tips and tricks and most important of all, their support.
Once you embark on this journey, don’t be afraid to share all of your work with the world and your community.
While several celebrities, sportspersons, and activists are openly discussing and promoting the positive effects and its impact on the world, there are also people with strong opinions against veganism for several different reasons.
Veganism doesn't claim to have the power to save the world by itself, but with these few easy to use and follow tips, you should be well equipped to start on your plant-based journey.
Be extremely mindful to not be too hard on yourself!
Veganism is all about being kind. And it all starts when you are kind to yourself first.