Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Why am I a Vegan?
Today we had a Pizza party at work. Everyone seemed to enjoy the hot & delicious Pizza. A colleague asked me "How are Indian Pizzas?". I told him, "They look great. But, I didn't eat them". He asked me "Why?". I told him that I'm adopting a Vegan diet. He then asked me "Why are you a Vegan?". Many folks have asked this question, in the last 3 weeks. Many folks have asked this question, in the last 3 years.
(Also read: A Journey from Non-Vegetarian to Raw-Vegetarian)
Why am I a Vegan? I don't think there is one specific answer to this question.
During my childhood days, I used to visit my grandparents' village. I've seen innocent little creatures dying in front of my eyes. I've seen goats getting 'chopped-off' in the name of 'sacrifice to God'. There were instances where I was asked to hold the legs of the goat tight, when its neck was cut. I've seen blood oozing out of the goat's neck after its head was chopped-off. I've seen the body of the goat shaking for a few seconds before it died. I've seen men killing chicken by twisting their neck. I think these things had some impact on my decision to be a Vegetarian. (Also read: Sunday - a day of mass murders in India)
Wanna see what happens to these poor creatures before they get into your burger or chicken 65?
I was a Vegetarian for most part of my childhood. I used to eat "egg", though. I lost significant weight when I went to college. Some of my friends told that I can regain the lost weight & develop muscles if I become a meat eater. I started eating meat again in 1997.
I was a meat eater till early part of 2000. During that time, I had a chance to read Gandhi's autobiography - "My experiments with truth". I got motivated by Gandhi's determination to be a vegetarian. He got closer to death, because of not eating meat & not drinking milk. He then started consuming goat's milk. Poor guy, he didn't have alternatives to milk-based diet, at that time. I decided to be a vegetarian. This time, I gave up eating egg also. I continued to consume milk-products.
I'm a vegetarian since 2000. I was able to stick to my eating habits. I got married in 2005, and luckily, my wife is also a vegetarian. Having been a vegetarian for quite sometime, I got bored. In mid 2006, I got a desire to 'experiment' a new eating style. I wanted to put my self-control to test. I wanted to go to the next-level of diet. I decided to adopt a Vegan diet. I told myself that I should give up only when I run into health issues because of not consuming milk products. Fortunately, there were milk-substitutes in USA. I started consuming 'fortified' Soy milk. I included spinach & more vegetables/fruits in my everyday diet. I managed to be a vegan for 3 years.
I returned back to India in May, 2009. I was doubtful, if I would be able to continue my Vegan diet in India. I was surprised to see that 'calcium-enriched' Soy milk is available in Chennai. I'm continuing to be a Vegan. I've also substituted my favorite 'Soy Cafe Latte' with 'Lemon/Black Tea'.
My wife takes good care of me, by cooking healthy vegetable food. I'm very thankful to my wife. If not for her, I cannot continue to be a Vegan & at the same time maintain my health. The journey continues ...
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