Vegan Sikh Geek


September 17, 2010

I’m vegan. It wasn’t always easy. It started with a video. I was watching PETA’s Meet Your Meat video and, being a vegetarian already, it was only strengthening my stand to not eat animals. Then came a part about dairy cows and things changed. I started to seriously question the intake of dairy. I read about animal cruelty and watched some more videos. I looked into alternatives to milk and talked to a couple of people about veganism. It seemed to me as if, for them, it was an ideal but almost unattainable. It was during one conversation when it clicked: “I’m done. No more dairy.” It was all God’s blessings of will power after that. I talked to my parents and they gave me their support. Out went the milk, butter, cheese, ice cream and milk chocolate. In came the soy, oils and chemicals. I was vegan.

No processed food that listed any type of animal (by)product would be consumed and, for good health, I also cut out the caffeine. This meant a lot of foods that I ate regularly. Cereal is a big thing for me. I had to be able to have cereal. Regular soy milk had a bad after-taste, but vanilla-flavoured soy milk with Rice Krispies was a breakfast fit for royalty. As good as it may have been, my body didn’t agree with too much soy. Out went soy milk and soy ice cream and in came almond milk and… well, I chose to not eat ice cream. Some time later, I learned of a few of dairies that treated their cows humanely and didn’t give them growth hormones or anything. Collectively, they had organic milk, butter, cheese and ice cream. Brilliant! Out went the almond milk and margarine. I only trusted these places and still didn’t consume any processed food with any sort of dairy/animal product. I was a strict lacto-vegetarian.

Recently, I learned that there is no dairy here that doesn’t send out their cows for slaughter, as great as they may treat them as they grow up. Most don’t even keep bulls, as they have little use for them (other than to inseminate cows, which can be done artificially). This changed things again. I’m fully vegan again and might always be, unless I get a farm and raise my own cows and bulls.

I’ve been mostly vegan for over 3 years and, God’s grace, I’m doing very well. My clothing and food intake are vegan. It’s not all chemicals and oils, either; that was just in the beginning. I’ve been eating a lot more healthy because I’m vegan. When desserts are being served, it’s a nice bowl of fruit for me rather than a cake or cream. When I go to the pantry/fridge for a snack, it’s a small bowl of nuts or a juice/water rather than a cookie or soda. Instead of regular cheese, it’s Daiya Vegan Cheese from Karmavore and instead of milk, it’s almond milk. And a post about eating vegan could not be complete without mentioning Tofurkey.

I do give myself rewards here and there. When Arshdeep Kaur and I sit down to watch a movie, we like to have a cane-sugar soda, preferably from a vintage bottling company. I try to taste as many different kinds of (non-caffeinated) root beer and cream soda as possible. (Favourites are the Boylan Cream Soda and Root Beer!). My mom and cousin Inderpreet Kaur together make the most delicious vegan cakes ever. They could start a vegan cake business, with my mom’s cake and Inderpreet Kaur’s icing and decoration. And once in a long while, I’ll hit up Karmavore and get a vegan s’more.

It’s an easy choice to make when you think of the brutality that these animals face. And for what? Our tongue’s fancy. Don’t tell me that it’s about the protein and calcium. Go tell a gorilla that a vegan diet doesn’t have enough protein. Go tell a calf that your share of its mother’s milk is more important that its share. Try to look a cow or a pig in the eye as it has its throat sliced open so it can bleed to death. Tell a chicken that your right to eat it is more important than it being able to stand because its legs can’t support its body weight from growth hormones. This isn’t a ‘holier than thou’ rant; I don’t think of myself as being better than anyone by being vegan. You make your choices. I’ve made mine :)

Akaal Sahaai

Navdeep Singh

Written by Navdeep Singh. His work is on GitHub. He's also on LinkedIn.