Veg Corner

Founder & President

Padmavati Dwivedi

Second Floor, N-39, GK - 1

New Delhi - 110048


Living Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is about making choices                           Back to Main

Vandana Madan, Teacher, Home Maker and Earth Lover

Vegetarianism is about making choices. Making choices is about who you are and what you believe in. It is never easy to give up what one has been used to for a large part of one’s life but often events and incidents can shift an individual’s perspective to the opposite end of the spectrum.

I grew up in a Hindu Shaivite home where non vegetarianism was the way of life. In my home festivals were incomplete without the presence of meat .While on Shivratri the world around me fasted, we had a meat feast at home. In my growing years I loved animals and birds and often had strays or injured birds in my room. Animals were loved, vegetables were eaten but vegetarianism was not an ideology to live by. Over the years however as a mother today of a 17 year old and as a keen environmentalist ,there has been a radical shift in my perspective and I sometimes wonder if who I am today is the same person as the voracious meat-eater that I grew up as.

The shift in dietary habit happened not just as a conscious choice that my husband and I made, but also as a fallout of a conscious choice made by my son who at 12 decided that he no longer wanted to eat meat, gelatin or eggs. This came partly from his love for birds and partly as he decided that eating such food was killing of life and he was not a "killer".

This choice and the accompanying changes in life style were not easy. Switching to cooking only vegetarian food was the least of the problem.What was not easy was that the body too had to get used to the change .It led to a lot of weakness and stomach issues over several months till a balance was achieved between the right amount of fibre, carbs and protein intake. But yes we are healthier today than we were on a non vegetarian diet.

The choice to become vegetarian led my husband and me to also change our diets drastically. But while we were willing to compromise on the egg-factor in cakes etc our son has stuck to a pure vegetarian diet.Yes going vegetarian is about making a choice to give up certain foods but it is only when you choose to give up that you realize how difficult the choice is; not because the taste buds stand in the way but because of how the system is actually against you. We discovered this overtime and had to work our way around the problems step by step.

I share some of these here with you:

•My ration list began to look different!!! And the shopkeeper wondered why madam was suddenly buying so many kilos of rajma and channa and soya....

•You cannot just order a vegetarian sandwich because the mayo may have egg;

•Veg pizza often has a base made with egg;

•Cakes and pastries unless specifically eggless ,have egg;

•So do many ice-creams.

•Jelly is made of gelatin.

•Mousse has gelatin in it.

•Chocolates have gelatin or egg whites in them except if they are Indian.

•Chinese cuisine is a big no no as fried vegetables are dipped in the same oil in which fish or egg is fried ---which by the way also happens in Indian restaurants ---oil is shared!

•By the way have you ever smelt a glass in a restaurant and found it "eggy"..carry your own glass.

The going is good as long as we are at home in Delhi or in India but the real problem is faced by us when we traveling abroad. We realized that that saying that our son was "allergic" to eggs and gelatin helped in a huge way. Vegetarianism has also meant that medication is not easy

•Many ayurvedic medicines are a no no as they have bhasma in them.

•Some calcium's have shell in them.

•Each time our son has to have soft capsules such as antibiotics ,the capsule has to be opened and the bitter medicine taken out as most capsules are made of gelatin

....and the list goes on ....

Our commitment to eating and living better and being healthier keeps us on the path to being vegetarian but there are many hiccups on the way. Anyone who thinks being truly vegetarian is easy about just eating vegetables needs to read the fine print.