An occasional series in which ordinary people
talk about living a plant-based life
The next in our series is Sudip,right, a 36-year-old broker, who lives with his wife and two young daughters.
Bardo Burner: You’re vegan now; were you previously vegetarian?
Sudip: I have been vegetarian my whole life, and turned vegan a few months ago. I realised that being vegetarian wasn’t enough to stop cruelty to animals. A growing awareness of animal welfare made me feel this way and so I became vegan.
BB: How long have you been vegan?
Sudip: It’s been a few months now and I’m planning to be for rest of my life.
BB: Are you a ‘healthy’ vegan? Often people assume we’re all fitness-obsessed, when the reality is that we come in many flavours and for many people life is an eternal hunt for vegan cake. What makes up your diet?
Sudip: I am a very healthy vegan; in fact I have a passion for sports and fitness. I am more than fit at this time being vegan. I feel much better for my new diet. I don’t miss anything: I can get vegan pizza with vegan cheese; I can get vegan cake; I can get vegan chocolate and I can get vegan milk for my coffee.
BB: Where do you shop?
Sudip: In the same stores I always did… where meat eaters and other omnivores buy their food.
BB: Do you consciously think about where you get your protein, etc, from?
Sudip: Not at all. If need be I could take supplements but I don’t need to at the moment. There is enough vegan food which can give you enough protein.
BB: For many vegans, the initial realisation of facts that make us turn to a different lifestyle is pretty life-changing and alienating. We view things differently, from the supermarket shopping experience in a meat-eating world to the people around us. How was that change in mindset… the reality of being an outsider in many situations… for you?
Sudip: For me, it’s not been a big difference as I have always been vegetarian. I honestly feel sick and sad when I see people shopping meat in the store or go fishing or hunting. Veganism is not only about avoiding dairy or meat but also about not buying products where animals have been used – whether it’s cosmetics or clothes, anything really.
BB: Do you mix with many other vegans – does your lifestyle mean that you come into contact with people of a similar outlook regularly?
Sudip: Slowly I do feel people are realising the story behind the meat on their plates, and I hope to see the world vegetarian, if not vegan, in the next 25 years.
BB: Do you seek out vegan groups and forums online?
BB: Do you live in a meat/dairy eating household? And if so, how tricky is that?
Sudip: My family does have dairy but my wife is considering quitting. I explained to my five-year-old daughter the reasons why I am a vegan and at her age she is like daddy and wants to be vegan too. So I feel if a child of that age gets it, then all adults should surely more than understand the horrors behind eating meat and dairy and consider whether it’s actually worth doing it and continuing to support the industry which abuses life just for the taste on your tongue!
BB: Do you feel you have more in common with vegans than the majority of other people who don’t believe plant-based is the way forward?
Sudip: Definitely I do.
BB: Do you, as most of us have to, eat out with non-vegans often and how do you feel about their eating choices?
Sudip: I do eat out but I try to avoid paying for the non-vegan food if I’m with a group of friends. I explain in my best way without offending anyone.
BB: Are you involved in any form of activism?
Sudip: It’s early days for me. I plan to be soon.
BB: How do you feel about the vegan jokes… you know, that vegans can’t go five minutes without mentioning the fact or they explode?
Sudip: They don’t bother me; honestly, I feel pity for people who still don’t get it..
BB: Do you believe veganism to be a fad?
Sudip: Veganism will always remain in fashion!
BB: Do you believe that the meat and dairy industries have a future?
Sudip: I used to think yes, but now I feel no.
BB: How do you think we best ‘convert’ omnivores to a plant-based lifestyle? And do you actively try to do this?
Sudip: We keep exposing them to videos of the barbaric acts. If they have hearts, I am sure this is the way to make them quit.
BB: Are you positive about the future of veganism?
BB: What does being vegan mean to you?
Sudip: I feel proud and feel I have got a true purpose in life: to prevent the torture, abuse and murder of those who can’t speak for themselves. This is bad as slavery or child labour… worse than it in some ways, as people can speak for themselves but these creatures need us to speak for them. Here they are just tortured and abused for the unethical profits of business. If we don’t add our voices to the protests against this, it’s just very sad.