In the simplest sense, being vegan means abstaining from anything that comes from a living being. This means avoiding food, produce, products and by-products from animals thus ensuring that one does not contribute to cruelty towards them. It means not indulging in eating meat, not buying a silk saree, or woolen clothes.
How good is being vegan for an individual?
As a conscious consumer, it is really a beneficial way of life because by going vegan, one would distance themselves completely from hazardous antibiotics, hormones, and adulteration which is common culture to ensure greater shelf life for most animal products. As exports increase and the world becomes smaller and smaller, more preservatives and chemical compositions are at play to ensure your food survives the journey. Veganism is also a choice of non-violence against bees, cattle, fowl, reptiles, and the oceanic universe who have been prey to man's unlimited hunger for more.
Currently though, in the name of veganism, the supermarket shelves are exploding, and It is estimated that the global vegan food market will reach $ 31.4 billion by 2026.
This now means that while the intent, when we started, was noble, food companies are resorting to the same practice that today has made animal husbandry the number one cause of global climate changes with almost irreversible effects.
Vegan foods available so freely are just horrible fillers in place of the nutritious and guilt-free bounty we were promised.
So being unaware today means we believe we are impacting flora and fauna in a good way, and still part of the same race and again our health is compromised.
The ethical goodness of being vegan is a chance to contribute to something bigger than us. It gives a person a chance to do something and leave a healthier planet as a legacy to our children. This makes parents who take up veganism as a humane way of life preach the benefits and morals to their children. And most children emulating their parents boast about veganism as the newest trend.
Children who are our future speaking about better choices is an integral part of building society, however, lack of knowledge can sometimes prove detrimental to those embarking on this journey.
Like consumption of processed and dubiously sourced dairy/meat will have its consequences, eating ultra-processed vegan food, which is filled with stabilizer, emulsifier, colors, and cosmetic additives, will do no good either. Advanced leaps in technology may introduce even more advanced strains of chemicals into food since the category of vegan foods is limited.
It would hence make sense for all parents to educate their children on how to make sensible food choices and not just follow the trend.
Help children choose healthier foods rather than finding vegan substitutes for junk food. When making food choices for yourself and your family, ask yourself a few questions:
Is it enjoyable? It is sustainable? Is it wholesome?
If the answer to all this is yes, then go for it. Else, stick to what you know and let the trend pass.
The dilemma of a parent will always be what are the best food choices I can make for my child.
Be wise and use the most tried and tested options for your children which have not failed and have been in use for decades. Help kids to be more acquainted with their ancestors' food, they will get an opportunity to get connected to their roots. Understanding the source of where what comes from, and how things grow is a great way to build a rock-solid foundation. They say, we are what we eat and so food will never be only about great taste but also about great living, health, and sustainability. And great food will always have a great story to tell.
Our ancestors were one with the land they grew up on, ate clean, and lived long. If we live like this, we will give back to the earth every time we take. And this, more than food choices and health trends will be much more effective in building a healthier planet that continues to get healthier for all the generations to come.
By: Nutritionist Smitha Shetty, Founder of The Smitha Shetty
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