Challenges of Vegan Diet in India

The effort and will behind incorporating a vegan diet are appreciable, but what are the woes to weigh?

Beyond the banners promoting anti-vegan stance and shaming food choices, there exists the grim reality of completely going vegan. The issues are multiplied when we consider farmers who toil under resource deficiency caused by corporates or mini private retailers growing vegan produces and exporting them worldwide.

Expensive Food Choices: To incorporate a full-fledged vegan diet without compromising on health and hunger, you can expect to splurge on supplements, vegan restaurants strategically positioned at important intersections of the city, plant-based produces, exotic veggies and authentic food items that are not painted with artificial colours. Unless you are going berserk about homemade and DIY vegan products, buying groceries can be lavish. If you are an ardent believer of authenticity and hard work and buying from entrepreneurs who leave no stone unturned to grow environment-friendly products with genuine ingredients, you will know why vegan diet is a pipe dream for the Indian middle class. For most conscious consumers of vegan, paying the legitimate processing and resourcing cost is only fair.

Reduced Protein Intake: Besides affordability, the most vulnerable demographics of a poorly-coordinated vegan diet are the children and elderly. Preparing a nutritious, vegan diet to nourish formative years is trickier than catering to people with co-morbidity or depleted nutrition levels. Pulses, whole grains and veggies may not be sufficient enough to replenish Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, Calcium, minerals etc. An inadequate source of essential vitamins and calcium results in muscle waste and stunted growth in children. For elders, the shortage can manifest through poor cardiovascular health, vitamin content, iron level, diabetes and cholesterol. The struggle turns pretty difficult when you are sourcing your food from reputed brands or quaint farmhouses situated at remote fringes outside the town.

Toxic Reliance on Non-Seasonal Food: People switching to vegan diet for the sake of preserving the environment, end up relying on exported, packaged, non-seasonal foods, and often unknowingly so. Farm produces are exported across continents to fill the pauses when local fruits are unavailable. Imported vegan ingredients are hardly sustainable, healthy or pocket-friendly. Whoever is interested in growing them are confronted by practical limitations that water shortage, barren land and high cost of procuring raw materials to maintain a perennial inflow of vegan produces. Processed and packaged foods, being the convenient option, have stirred many to question the associated health risks. The fad has willy-nilly compelled many to adopt a vegan diet without comprehending the source of the food.

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