A workshop on alternatives for dairy products and nutritious living

It is not a fancy fad for Susmitha Subbaraju. The food blogger at Veganosaurus is a practicing vegan for the last 11 years.

Susmitha conducted a workshop at Paradigm Shift in collaboration with Living Free and Carrots, The Healthy Kitchen recently where she talked about alternatives for dairy products. She said how cashew, almond and peanut milk can be used to substitute milk and related dairy products from our lifestyle while maintaining nutrition. She shared her experience on how her husband motivated her to become a vegan and how long it had taken to make up her mind.

“But these days it is easy to understand the concept because we have a plethora of resources to learn about veganism and its scientific facts which was not possible at a time when I thought of becoming vegan,” she said.

Highlighting the popular myths attached with veganism, the most important being loss of nutrition, Susmitha said: “Turning vegan is more nutritious than a vegetarian diet and the most important thing is the sense of relief we get that our food is not a product of cruelty on animals,” she points out.

Sushmita also discussed on how people argue that plants also have life and we should stop eating plants as well. Responding with a humorous reply, she said: “The day plants scream out in pain or try to run away from our hands like animals, that is when I will stop using plants as well.”

Susmitha also talked about a facebook group ‘Raising Vegan Babies’ where mothers share their experience of vegan pregnancies and how they raise their children with vegan food.

Another belief related to veganism is that it is much more expensive that vegetarian food. “A pack of soya milk costs half of what we pay for dairy products. Moreover 50 grams of almond or cashews make a litre of milk. So saying that vegan food is expensive would be wrong,” she says. She also advised people to turn to the internet to prepare vegan food at home which is much cheaper than buying packaged products.

Susmitha said she is happy that in India, it is much easier to talk about veganism as a majority of the population is vegetarian. “Many of my colleagues in the US and other countries find it difficult to even bring people to the table to talk about veganism. People here at least listen, even if they are not convinced.” She believes that one day the whole world will turn vegan and in India, this change can happen faster.

Leenan D’Souza, a fitness trainer is not a vegan and was attending the workshop. He disagreed with the commonly held notion that being non-vegetarian was the only option for body-building. . “I had a colleague who was vegan and that initially shocked me. I started reading about veganism and I found it very useful.” Though Leenan is not thinking of turning vegan right now, he said the workshop will be helpful to some of his students who are lactose-intolerant and he will be able to help them now.