One of the best approaches to green living is veganism. Going vegan is a major action that you can take to minimise animal cruelty, reduce your carbon footprint and promote a more sustainable way of living.
We recently spoke with popular vegan coach Heena Modi who is extremely passionate about embracing veganism in all areas of life. She helps people embrace veganism and overcome the perceived challenges that come with any shift in thinking e.g. Finding the right foods, cooking differently and steering clear of any kind of animal products which would include dairy, honey, wool and silk, to name a few. Heena began her vegan journey early on in 2008. She provides individual coaching through her website where she describes to what degree one can be a vegan, offers vegan recipes, helpful definitions and a lot more. She describes the shocking discovery that prompted her to think beyond vegetarianism and adopt veganism.
Here are some questions we asked her about her lifestyle and how she has managed to maintain it since 2008.
Teaologists: When someone wants to go vegan, what are the first three things they should do?
Heena: First of all, remember, it is a conscious decision. Three things will help you make the shift to veganism and stay vegan. These are:
1. Be clear on your reason for deciding to go vegan
2. Think about how quickly you want to make the shift
3. Do some research to find out what being vegan is all about and learn which foods you can eat and how to make meals using them. Then, purchase the ingredients accordingly.
Teaologists: What’s the hardest thing to cope with in the first week?
Heena: There’s no simple answer to this one. If you are used to a lot of meat and dairy, the first week may be difficult but it also may not. If your motives are clear and strong, it will be easier and might even be effortless.
Purchasing food can be tricky for first-time vegans so at first, it might help to go with an experienced vegan who is familiar with how to shop as a vegan.
Teaologists: When people hear that you are a vegan, do you still get asked why?
Heena: Yes. Most people are curious about the various reasons which cause individuals to shift to a vegan diet/lifestyle.
Teaologists: Can you give us a short explanation of what a cruelty-free lifestyle is?
Heena: Adopting a vegan lifestyle is the same as adopting a cruelty-free lifestyle.
The most basic principles of a vegan lifestyle are eating cruelty-free food, wearing cruelty-free clothes, shoes, accessories and jewellery; using cruelty-free toiletries and cosmetics. Processes are important too. Looking into how food and drink is processed, is a great way to ensure that what you buy is cruelty free.
Teaologists: How do you manage your vegan diet when eating out with friends?
Heena: My friends are aware of what I will and won’t eat, which makes it easier. Eating out is much simpler than before, because most restaurant staff understands what vegan customers can eat and they know whether dishes need to be amended or not. More often than not, members of staff are keen to offer suggestions and create bespoke dishes when there aren’t many options on the existing menu.
Teaologists: Does a vegan lifestyle cost more than a non-vegan one?
Heena: Living a vegan lifestyle costs less than a non-vegan one. Vegetables are cheaper than meat, especially if one buys frozen vegetables. Processed foods tend to be costly regardless of whether they are vegan or not. Vegan toiletries, cosmetics, clothes, shoes and accessories are not more costly than non-vegan alternatives.
Teaologists: When you inspire and motivate others to become vegans, to adopt the greener and healthier lifestyle, there must be some moments worth treasuring. Can you tell us about the most rewarding moment in this role?
Heena: My most rewarding moment in the journey of coaching and inspiring others came when I spoke to a client who was not just vegan but also gluten-free. However, through the coaching, she came to realise that she was only allergic to certain types of gluten-based foods, as opposed to all gluten. Suddenly, the range of foods that she could eat became much wider. The coaching sessions were instrumental in making this realisation come about and that was a great feeling for me!
Teaologists: How often do you encourage your clients to drink Matcha Tea? :)
Heena: Although specific types of tea haven’t come up during coaching, there are instances where I have been asked which alternative milk goes best with “regular” tea and whether it complements “Indian” tea or not.
So, that was Heena Modi, whose plant-based living continues to inspire hundreds.
Visit her website: http://www.plantshift.com/ to know more about the vegan lifestyle and her relentless efforts to help and motivate others to switch to this healthier lifestyle.
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