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23 Apr 2024, Edition - 3206, Tuesday

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The Vegetarians and the Vegans

Indrani Thakurata


Bengaluru: A recent mail from WhiteCub, India’s first Vegan Ice Cream maker, who is dedicating one Ice Cream to DelhiPedia confused me. The concluding lines of the mail which proudly announced that WhiteCub has won PETA Vegan Food Awards for two consecutive years further added to the confusion. I am aware of the rainbow of terms that are thrown towards us every other day, but I didn’t bother to understand it so closely. I clubbed vegetarian and vegan together. But realised, they aren’t exactly the same thing. So, in my quest to understand my ice cream better (in this case), I realised the difference between vegetarian and vegan. Here they are:

To begin with, there is no shame in acknowledging that you are clueless about the word vegan. Most of my friends thought it to be a short form of vegetarian. Only the ones who are vegetarian knew the difference. No kidding. A vegetarian would normally not eat meat, poultry and seafood. Some would also not consume dairy and eggs. Similarly, Vegans would avoid meat , poultry, and seafood, like most vegetarians would, but they would also avoid all animal products from their diet. This includes any type of animal milk and eggs. Vegans avoid foods produced using animals or animal products in any way, including honey.

“I am a Vegan. I am an animal lover. If you are an animal lover, then you would avoid and detest anything that harms the animal. Whether it is food products or products that are manufactured using their hair, skin and other body parts. It comes very naturally to me. It isn’t an effort from my side,” says Sandhya Kumar, a vegetarian who turned Vegan. She adds, “Look, the pure silk sarees that we wear are also procured cruelly through silkworms. I have given up wearing silk sarees too. I only wear cotton these days. This is a realisation that has come into me over the years. I urge all sensitive people to think about it.”

According to many datas, you can save more than 100 animals every single year just by going vegan. But, just as all vegetarians can’t be clubbed under one big umbrella, similarly, Vegans can’t be clubbed too. You will have variety of vegetarian friends; some who would avoid meat but love their eggs and dairy products. Some who would even consume fish but not the meat. And some who would restrict their meat intake according to their dietary needs. “It is almost irritating how people see all vegetarians alike and all Vegans alike. I am a vegetarian who loves dahi, egg and all dairy products. Just because i have egg doesn’t make me a non veg. People get surprised when I say I am a vegetarian who likes her egg. There can be diverse taste and preferences,” says Meenakshi Kumar, a vegetarian.

“The most commonly found are the ethical vegans who choose to give up and make dietary changes because of ethical reasons. And the plant Vegans are the ones who live on plants based foods, which grow from the ground only. The last type are the ones who prefer to eat raw vegetables, cooked under a certain temperature to retain its original food value,” says Moumita Chakravarty, Nutritionist. Many, who were hard core carnivores are turning to vegetarian diets and vegan diets as they are healthy, environment friendly. “ Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor are two very hot vegetarians. The only thing that vegans and vegetarians need to be careful about are saturated fatty acids and sufficient amount of protein,” she concludes.

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