“So, what do you eat?” – I am used to getting that a lot. Earlier from non-vegetarians because I was a vegetarian, and now from vegetarians as well, because I am a vegan.
But I don’t really blame them because before becoming vegan, even I didn’t pay much attention to those Silk Soy/Almond/Cashew/Coconut Milk tetra packs right beside the regular milk gallon-jugs. I didn’t bother to look at that “V” sign on a food packet. I never noticed in any cafe, a separate line on the menu that said: “Add Soy/Almond Milk – $X”. I never googled a vegan version of traditionally dairy-based recipes like Pizza, Cakes, Indian Desserts etc. Those things pretty much didn’t exist for me.
One thing that being vegan made me understand WHY cooking is a pure art. And we often understand that art has no limits but we forget that art has no dimensions either. While there is ‘n’ number of things you can draw on a canvas, each of those things can be further drawn in ‘n’ number of ways as well. In a class of say 20 children, even if we give all of them an assignment to draw a natural scenery, all of them may have two mountains, one river, one house, three clouds, four trees, one sun and a well (if it is in Europe or Asia) – but still, each of these drawings will be different from the other – not just in terms of colors but also in terms of how those elements are projected.
Same goes for cooking as well. We may think that a particular dish must follow a certain list of ingredients and must taste in a certain way – but who certified that? There isn’t any organization that mandated it? Why can’t there be another dimension in a given recipe? Nothing is irreplaceable – is what being vegan taught me. One just needs to expand the universe of tastes, textures, ingredients, and combinations. It does take time to work out the perfect replacement and involves a lot of failures as well, but the results definitely come in.
It took us months to figure a perfect alternate recipe to make the Indian tea and coffee from soy milk but we did eventually reach there. Yes, it is different from the milk-based tea in terms of taste and texture – but then that’s what exactly it is – “different”.
And since last 2 years, I have come across so many varieties of diets that exist in this world – based on different principles, some of them being religious, some of them being philosophical, while others being nutritional. However, they all have their way to coexist.