Friday, August 15, 2014

An Open Letter to Prime Minister of India

Dear Prime Minister,

Wish You A Very Happy Independence Day . India is really very fortunate to have you. I'm confident that you will take India to a higher horizon of peace and prosperity.

I was so happy to know your inclination towards plant-based diet. I read in an interview that you like Vegan fare - Khichidi, Bhakri, Poha, Idli and Dosa . I felt very uncomfortable when I read that "curds" is part of your diet. Unfortunately, all the milk products, everything from butter to ghee and curds to paneer causes pain and suffering for the innocent cows. In India milk producing cows are induced with oxytocin harmone to produce more milk. In short, the condition of cows is heart wrenching.

Mahatma Gandhiji , Father of the Nation, stopped consuming cow's milk after he came to know about a cruel process known as "Phooka".  Gandhiji in his autobiography writes, "Since I had come to know that the cow and the buffalo were subjected to the process of Phooka, I had conceived a strong disgust for milk." Gandhiji started to drink goat's milk because plant-based milk such as soya milk , almond milk , rice milk was not available.

Last year, I visited Hagalavadi, a village in Karnataka. My cousins told me that farmers regularly inject cows with oxytocin harmone to cows so that they can produce more milk. The lifespan of the animals injected with oxytocin is drastically reduced. In short, cows are treated as "milk machines" in India and across the world.

Dada J.P.Vaswani , a spiritual leader from India , in a interview says, "I now take soy milk instead of cow's milk because the cows are very cruelly treated in factory farming. Ever since I learned about it nine or ten years ago, I gave up milk. I believe it's the food of violence. The cows are confined to a small area. They can't move and are just milk manufacturing machines,"

Recent studies have shown that dairy milk is causing everything from common constipation to Cancer. The dairy milk available in India is brimming with chemicals. I roll my eyes whenever Ayurveda doctors say that cow's milk and ghee is nectar. Please read the book, The China Study to know more more about the negative health effects of milk and milk products such as milk , yogurt, ghee and paneer. Also please visit the PCRM website to know more about the benefits of plant-based diet.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agree:Well planned vegetarian and vegan eating patterns are healthy for infants, children and adults. Recent studies have shown that a plant-based diet (Vegan diet) reduces the risk of heart disease , stroke and cancer.

Dr John Mc Dougall , a Physician and nutrition expert says that dairy is "liquid meat". People generally have the notion that dairy milk is rich in calcium and other nutrients. Actually, it is possible to get all the nutrients - calcium, proteins, vitamins in a plant-based diet. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and legumes is best for the body. Healthy Eating Plate developed by Harvard Medical School will show the importance of plant-based food items in a diet .

Milk and milk products is  not only bad for our health, but it is also bad for our environment.
According to United Nations, Livestock Long Shadow report, meat and dairy industry is causing global warming. United Nations is urging people to eat less meat and dairy. Meat industry, egg industry, leather industry and dairy industry is not only causing pain and suffering to million of animals, but also causing everything from water pollution to land degradation.

Many people assume that I thrive on salads and fruits, whenever they come to know about my vegan diet. I love food! Growing up in Bangalore, I relished eating "curd rice". These days I made dairy-free curd using peanut milk or cashew milk. I really enjoy eating dairy-free curd rice. Dr. Rupa Shah has a youtube video on making vegan yogurt using peanut  milk and rice milk. Harini Prakash on her blog Tongue Ticklers has a recipe for vegan yogurt.

At present I'm in United States and it is really easy to thrive on vegan diet. I make kheers and carrot halwa with home-made almond milk. I sometimes use coconut milk or rice milk to make kheers, and variety of Indian sweets. I also make awesome vegan cakes, cupcakes and muffins without eggs and dairy products. Vaishali's blog Holy Cow ,  Richa's blog Vegan Richa  and Harini Prakash's is awash with yummy vegan recipes.

At stores I get variety of icecreams made with coconut milk and soy milk. I also enjoy eating delicious vegan chocolates. My husband and son relish eating pizza  with vegan cheese. These day the number of people going vegan is increasing in united States. In short, it is so easy to thrive on cruel-free diet (vegan diet) in United States.

Many of my friends and relatives in India have stopped consuming dairy products after they watched a very sad documentary , The Plastic Cow . I'm sure you will stop consuming cow's milk and curds after seeing this video.

It is great to know that the concept of vegan diet (meat and dairy free diet), is growing slowly in Indian cities.  Thanks to the social media - blogs, facebook and twitter, the suffering of cows and other millions of animals is exposed, and people are looking for meat and dairy alternatives.
Please visit the blog - Vegan India , .

I think the number of vegans in India will increase by many-folds if meat alternatives and dairy alternatives, such as tofu, tempeh , seitan (wheat meat), soy milk, rice milk, and vegan butter is easily available across Indian towns and villages.

The world is moving towards vegan diet (cruel-free diet). For centuries India has been known as Vegetarian Paradise. I hope under your leadership, India will become a "Vegan Paradise".

Thank you!