Like most I’ve had trouble understanding the concept of veganism and vegan food. Veganism, I’m told is a way of living, which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

I looked up Veganism and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is a vast and diverse variety of exciting foods and flavours available in the vegan world. A vegan diet includes all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses – in fact, some would say that it’s the diet a typically vegetarian Indian would follow!
 
Vegans are against the exploitation of animals for any purpose, making compassion key to their lifestyle. This is not limited to food items, and encompasses a variety of accessories, products and clothing, whose creation involves testing on animals, as well as the use of animal products. As pure vegetarians, vegans refrain from using animal products or even by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, cosmetics.
 
In India, we’re quite comfortable with veganism (though the term isn’t very popular) – it’s popularly known as vegetarianism. Practised by a majority of Indians, and a concept that non-Indians will easily identify the country with, India has many a different culinary offerings and regional cuisines that are an ode to veganism.
 
At ITC Hotels, veganism is honoured through our Responsible Luxury initiative of Sattva (Pure) – Honestly Vegetarian. In Vedic philosophy; Sattva, Sanskrit for purity is the most rarefied of the three gunas of body, mind and spirit. Each item on our menus identified under Sattva, offers this holistic concept, presented in an honestly vegetarian meal.

On November 1, World Vegan Day, the spotlight will be on veganism. While it is a personal and lifestyle choice, veganism is something to think about. With the leapfrog in our world on all fronts, technology seems have to have taken over our lives and the ability to spare time to look around us seems to be diminishing.

A global movement towards compassion for all living beings is gaining momentum; and as humans, we’re also becoming aware of the ills of our excess, to the environment and our ecosystem.  

There is always an alternative; always a choice.  
 
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At ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru, partake of regional vegetables sourced from in and around Bangalore, cooked the vegan way using traditional recipes, on World Vegan Day.