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Our most recent webinar was titled “ Moving away from animal experimentation How the pandemic has shown us what scientific research is important for human health” with Dr. Alka Chandna (firstname.lastname@example.org), Shalin Gala (email@example.com) and Dr. Aysha Akhtar (firstname.lastname@example.org),and held on April 17, 2021.
- Introduction: Ahimsak Eco-Vegan Committee, a vegan Jain position on the COVID-19 vaccine and animal experimentation by Dr. Jina Shah
- Animal Experimentation: “The Blackest of All Crimes” & Modern Research Has No Need for Animals, by Dr. Alka Chandna and Shalin Gala,
- Human Costs of Animal Research, Dr. Aysha Akhtar
Suggestions for Action Steps
- Sign up for PETA action alerts
- Write a letter to the editor when you see uncritical praise for animal testing
- Add your professional expertise by sharing your contact information with CCS (Aysha) or PETA (Alka or Shalin), so you can be added to our experts’ database. There are always opportunities to sign onto letters or to provide expert insights into specific experiments–and with your contact information, CCS/PETA can contact you when we are in need of your expertise.
- Donate to CCS,PETA and other similar organizations.Center for Contemporary Sciences (CCS)
Resources for Advocacy
We have just posted the Jain declaration on the climate crisis as a new page. Please read and consider it and on this day of Samvatsari for Svetambar Jains, consider if you’d like to endorse it and make any commitments. There is an endorse button at the top of the page. Above for illustrative purposes only. This is not the pledge associated with the Jain declaration.
Sailesh Rao of Climate Healers places our going vegan as the #1 thing we can do for the plant.
The book Drawdown and its associated website gives details of solutions in all different sectors.
My co-author, Sudhanshu, also describes the top 8 items you can do to address the climate crisis. Continue reading
This is a guest post by Sunny Jain an MBA Candidate who is a leader in US Young Jain Professionals
I’ve heard the story one too many times of my vegan friends abandoning their diet while visiting India either due to misinformation or perceived difficulty. Some would say it’s too difficult and would rather just enjoy food there, and others falsely believe that the dairy industry in India is humane (would be interested in educating you if you’re one of those people spreading fake news).
Before my trip to India, I decided that I would be the one to break this mold and wouldn’t give in like everyone else does, and I readied my battle armor as I boarded my flight.
10 days in, I found being vegan in India extremely reasonable and not as awful as I originally thought it would be. In addition to eating lavishly and trying almost any and every street food I laid my eyes on, I had the opportunity to attend Mumbai’s first and largest vegan food festival.
Here are a few tips I want to share with those who plan to remain vegan while in India:
Dealing with Aunties and Uncles
- Don’t hesitate to speak up and tell them in advance what you can and can’t eat. To them, it’s like some unusual variation of the Jain diet that they may not entirely comprehend
- Aunties are notorious for being pushy and persistent when it comes to eating home-cooked food, but they’ll respect your dietary restrictions without question (at the end of the day, you’re the guest and they want to cater to you!)
- Just say: “no doodh (milk) and no ghee (butter)”
- By default, food labeled “vegetarian” in India doesn’t have eggs in it, so it’s just a matter of avoiding butter and milk
The Plane Ride to India
- When purchasing to your flight, you’ll have an option to request a vegan meal. Depending on the airlines, you may have to do some digging and click the “Extras” tab to select a special meal type, ask for VGML, this is an international airline code for vegan meals.
- Important: You must request a vegan meal 24 hours in advance before the flight or you will be out of luck
- If that happens, just let the flight attendant know (they’re usually super accommodating and will find something for you – even if it’s as little as providing you with snacks and fruits/vegetables during the flight)
- The vegan meal I received was delicious: quinoa rice with tofu and red sauce, a fruit cup, salad with vegan ranch dressing, bread, and vegan butter
- It was so fire that I took a photo of it just to share on social media
- If you’re able to survive the first connecting flight, the airport in Amsterdam has great vegan options
Soy Milk (“Soya Milk” in India)
- The first thing you’ll want to do when you reach in India is get a
hold of soy milk wherever you’re staying
- This is important because you’re going to be offered chai multiple times a day so it’s good to let them know in advance to make it with soy milk
- One option is to either ask your family in India to get some in advance before you arrive, or you can buy some yourself
- Soy milk is very accessible and readily available
- Can be found at almost any decently big grocery store. If you can’t find it at a location, just walk next door because all the grocery stores tend to be next door to each other
- I found regular unsweetened soy milk, chocolate soy milk, hazelnut milk, and rice milk
- When converted to USD, you’ll spend about 6 bucks a box
- I would recommend getting a few extra boxes to last your time there. Vegan milk doesn’t spoil so it makes sense to stock up
- SoFit Soya Milk is a famous Indian soymilk brand endorsed by John Abraham
- Pau Bhaji is a staple street food you’re going to want to indulge
in. However, it’s usually served drowning in butter
- I watched in disgust as a street vendor tossed entire slabs of butter (un-human amounts) into the Pau Bhaji, and used another slab of butter to wipe down with pau
- There’s legit more butter swimming in it than actual bhaji
- Fortunately, there’s an easy workaround which will allow you to enjoy street Pau Bhaji without the animal cruelty. It is completely acceptable to demand Pau Bhaji with no butter (remember: they’re catering to you, not vice versa). Tell them what you want, and 9 times out of 10 they’ll deliver
- In their continuous process of making and replenishing bhaji, they’ll just serve you bhaji from the batch they cook before adding butter. This goes for pau as well.
Indian McDonald’s and Burger King
- Request any veggie burger or wrap and subtract the cheese and mayonnaise
- I would choose a food item that comes with other stuff like tomatoes and lettuce so you don’t end up with a plain burger with just the patty and onions (those burgers are already pretty simple as is)
- If you’re a daring and adventurous foodie like I am, try out the Maharaja Mac
- Ask a nearby Aunty about which desserts have ghee or made with milk. Should knock out about 75 percent of your options, but you’ll always find something worthwhile
- For me, it was Kaju Katri and fresh Jalebi cooked in oil
- Avoid sweets with Warakh (the silver coating on top) because it’s associated with animal cruelty
Vegan Friendly Indian food
Below are some great food items I tried in India which are vegan friendly:
- South Indian food
- Vada Pau
- Pani Puri
- Sev Puri
- Chole Bhatura
- Home Food (Moong, Daal, Sabji)
- McDonald’s Burgers
- Burger King Burgers
- Pau Bhaji (without Butter)
Feeding Biscuits to Stray Dogs
- This is something I wish I realized early in my trip and recommend to all my friends
- Purchase a few packs of biscuits and carry it around wherever you go
- Comes at about 10 rupees at any stall or store (converts to mere pennies in USD)
- As you travel and explore the city, hand biscuits to any stray dogs you encounter
- These poor dogs on the streets are malnourished and hungry/thirsty, and will gladly accept any food you give them
- You can just place them on the floor and make a kissing sound to get their attention
This year at the JAINA convention, I spoke about having Ahimsak lifestyles for health. Not only does that mean vegan, but also climate friendly. I found a couple of articles today that draws a parallel between individual prevention of disease and prevention of climate catastrophe. It’s always harder for people to act to prevent harm than to react to harm that occurs. However, on this eve of Paryushan, it’s time for us to reflect and act in order to prevent widesspread himsa. Here is the article about prevention and another, associated with the picture, is about what we can do on a broader scale.
Our friend Barbara posted these tricks for making plant milk.
We have a Soymilk maker which makes the Soymilk much easier than what she’s posted but maybe her recipe is useful for those who don’t .
Trick #1 Xanthan gum
I love nut milks, they are nutritious, smooth and oh so tasty. Have you ever made a batch, marveled at its white creamy texture just to be so disappointed the morning after when, opening the fridge, you were greeted by an unappealing separated sludgy looking beverage?
It happened to me several times, close your eyes and shake before drinking, yes …but! Just adding ¼ tsp Xanthan gum to one liter of milk does the trick, your mil will not separate.
I strain the milk using a nut milk bag, place it I the blender one more time, add the xanthan gum and blend it on low for few seconds. Et voilà, no more surprises or shaking in the morning.
Trick #2 the nut butter
In a hurry, cannot peel those almonds? Adding two tablespoons of almond butter to 1 liter of water in a blender makes a delicious milk. I then add some little salt, maple syrup and my ¼ tsp xanthan gum. I experimented with hazelnut butter as well…delicious!
Trick #3: 1-2-3 Cashew
Another no time milk – Cashew milk does not need to be strained – ½ cup of raw cashews in 1 liter of water make a very smooth and creamy milk. Again, I add a little salt, vanilla and xanthan gum so it does not separate
Trick #4: No beany flavor soy milk
Soy milk is very nutritious, but when I started making it at home, I had a very hard time with its beany flavor. After experimenting a bit, I am set on the following method. While not quick, it yields very good results: creamy home-made soy milk without any beany flavor!
· Blanch 1 cup of beans for 10 minutes in boiling water + 1 TBS bicarbonate
· Soak the blanched beans for 8-10 hours in water + 1 TBS sodium bicarbonate
· Rinse the beans
· Blend the beans with 2 cups of boiling water in your Vitamix or another high-speed blender
· In a large pot bring 5 cups of water to a boil
· Place bean paste in the boiling water
· Simmer for few minutes stirring often. The milk will foam and at some point, rise in the pot. Turn off the burner and let it rest few minutes.
· Place your nut bag in a strainer on a clean pot. Pour the milk in and strain it with the help of a ladle to push on the bag as it’s still very hot.
· Cook the strained milk for about 10 minutes then let it cool. Stir it often during the first 15 minutes of cooling to break the skin that forms on top
· You can add salt, vanilla and sweetener or your choice. Transfer the milk into a container and refrigerate. I did not use any xanthan gum on this.
Dr. Nandita Shah from Sharan gives a great introduction to veganism in this video
and this NYT article discusses the increased risk of heart disease in South Asian, linked both to those that eat a very traditional diet with lots of refined grains and saturated fat, and also a too Western diet with high fat meat and dairy. The type of whole foods, plant based diet that I, and Dr. Nandita and other vegan nutritionists and doctors recommend fit the recommendations to incorporate whole grains, vegetables and legumes into a mixed diet.
A note from Pranav:
Hi All, I want to sincerely thank the Jcnc kitchen committee and volunteers to prepare vegan foods in sufficient quantity and for allowing the use of separate serving table on this dhwaja ceremony day (Aug 4, 2018) . This time the volunteers decided to really educate the members on the availability
of vegan alternatives and quite a few people wanted to taste the vegan foods side by side with the dairy based foods. Afterwards, we informally reached out to them on the tables they were eating and they said they found vegan items more flavorful because milk/yogurt was actually diluting the original flavor of chaula sabzi as well as daal. Vegan Gattha was the most popular because people found the dairy version was actually too dull and watery. All in all, we noticed that just like a kid doesn’t like plain milk and want it flavored, Jcnc members realized that milk was working against the flavor of the base food and they would rather enjoy sabzi, daal, legumes etc without dairy. Below are few verbatim feedback from members who aren’t currently vegan themselves.
I sincerely request the food committee to make more menu items vegan as I think community is open to it.
Dhiral —- “vegan chaula sabzi tasted better because it felt more flavorful… if there was only one counter I would have rather enjoyed vegan chaula… “
Krinaben shah —- “loved the vegan version and I would go for it anytime”
Mudit khasgiwala —- “vegan dishes were more delicious and highly recommend to make more of those”
And here are some reviews of the vegan cha:
Dr. Michael Klaper gave an excellent talk at the Jain Center of Northern California and has made a video specifically on the health and ethical problems with dairy consumption. Below is a screen shot. You have to click on the hyperlink here to access the talk which leads you to his website, containing all kinds of other excellent content!
“Dairy Doubts” (42-minutes)
00:00 : Dr. Klaper’s Introduction
00:44 : What we’re told about dairy products…
01:42 : The purpose of cow’s milk
02:56 : If you’re trying to lose weight…
03:54 : Reality check
04:33 : Estrogens in cow’s milk
12:26 : Dairy and prostate cancer
14:37 : Dairy and ovarian cancer
15:42 : Dairy and acne
17:09 : Plant-based diets in treatment of asthma
18:21 : Dairy and various medical conditions
19:18 : Cheese (congealed, fermented butterfat)
20:04 : “The Cheese Trap” by Neal Barnard, MD
20:27 : Where cow’s milk really comes from…
25:59 : Today’s commercial dairy industry
32:33 : Are you really that hungry?
33:22 : Healthy calcium sources
35:40 : Dairy and environmental pollution
37:00 : Look in the mirror…
37:25 : Delicious alternatives (in moderation)
38:21 : What about your bones?
38:49 : Osteoporosis is NOT primarily a calcium deficiency
39:33 : Healthy Bones
40:08 : Summary and Suggestions
42:31 : End
Thanks to Meredith Scheiner for her Time Map of this presentation