Would a portion of sugar snap peas and carrot soba noodles or a kale, black bean, and avocado burrito tempt you? Would a drizzle of spicy Thai peanut sauce over roasted potatoes and rice taste as good as a dollop of ketchup? And would a vegan brownie taste as good as gooey one, dripping with chocolate?
It’s time to find out, say vegan enthusiasts in the city who have put together a vegan festival for Bangaloreans who want a health upgrade. The “Kind Fest” – to be held on March 31, from 12 to 9 pm, – is a vegan festival that will celebrate all things vegan, and will show you how you can change your lifestyle to promote health and wellbeing.
Nithya Ramakrishnan, Founder, Whitefield Rising, tells YS Weekender how to make simple switches in your diet and your lifestyle to lead a fulfilled and happy life. Here’s a curtain raiser on what to expect at the event and why veganism is good for you.
What are the highlights of the festival?
“We will have an amazing number of vendors to offer products that will help you easily switch to a plant-based diet. Tea can be had without dairy, and the alternatives are just as nice. We will have all this information printed on forms that will be distributed, so that one can easily understand how to turn vegan and have no loss to any quality of life – in fact, it will be a significant improvement.
Can you tell us the inspiration behind the Vegan Festival? What is the objective behind it?
Veganism is not a diet or a recent fad. It is a conscious decision to live in a manner consistent with deeply intrinsic human values of compassion, respect for all beings, and the environment around us. Man has a history of hunting and eating animals. However, as we “progressed”, animals have been commoditised into being factory farmed with absolute disregard for the conditions under which they live or are slaughtered.
“There are two other important angles to veganism: health and environment. Innumerable number of studies have shown the correlation between meat/dairy to severe epidemic levels of health impacts. It takes 10 times the resources of land to create one kg of meat vs one kg of grain that can directly feed a human.
The most popular documentaries have been created by luminaries such as Leonardo DiCaprio or James Cameron through movies such as Dominion, Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Forks Over Knives, GameChangers, What the Health, and more.
What are some of the benefits of veganism?
Meat and dairy have shown a significant correlation to disease. There are now innumerable studies around the world that shed light on this.
For good health, one must be a specific type of vegan; one must have a whole food, plant-based diet. This diet removes all processed foods like maida.
What kind of vendors will the festival feature?
A lot of vendors will serve food that will be an alternative to meat and dairy. So, alternatives like mock meat, vegan cheese, and curd will be available. We will also have substitutes for leather.
What are some of the simple switches we can make to make our lives healthier?
The easiest way to make a switch is to mentally commit to the change for the right reasons. Once that is done, any challenge with taste adjustments becomes simple. There are easy alternatives to cured that can be purchased or made at home.
Peanut curd/soy curd are all easy. For dairy options, we can easily make milks like soy milk, almond milk, and cashew milk. But the real benefit is to go beyond this and see if we need that curd/dairy in our diet or is a habit and taste dictating this choice.
Add a lot of seasonal fresh fruits and a variety of fresh vegetables to the diet. Also add some lentils and grains like millets, and we are done. That’s all the human body needs for optimal health.
Who are the organisers of the festival and how was it planned?
There is a wonderful WhatsApp group of residents in Whitefield, called “Neighbourhood Vegans”, who are all vegan. Whitefield Rising, VeganFirst, and Fiapo are supporting the festival along with Forum Neighbourhood Mall, our hosts.
What is the clientele you are hoping for?
The festival will be held at Forum Neighbourhood Mall. We hope a lot of people come and experience this life-changing event. If you can think and be open minded, this is for you.
Can you tell us a bit about Whitefield Rising and about yourself?
Whitefield Rising is a platform that allows any resident to leverage it for positive change they want to bring to the area. I started it in 2013, and it has since grown and become what it has due to the contributions of people much better than myself.
What are the immediate concerns of Whitefield Rising?
Water, traffic, air and water pollution, garbage, and lack of pedestrian infrastructure are some of the very critical problems of the area. For impactful change to come to our area we need two things to happen; we need enough people to engage and behave in a collective manner (that is vote responsibly, segregate garbage, follow traffic rules), and for the govt to be held accountable. We are steadily working to keep doing what we can and leaving the outcome to the universe.
What are some of the other festivals you have organised successfully?
The Whitefield Habba was a huge festival we organised; as many as 10,000 people attended. We have also organised small local events like the Repair Café and the Eco Santhe.
What are the other ways you plan to spread the message of veganism?
We work with Social Media, hand-holding interested people to help with transition, street activism, and hosting events in homes.
Why is it called ‘The Kind Fest’?
Man has “compassion” and “kindness” at his/her core. We just keep it well hidden. This festival is to alert us to this very beautiful part of us that we may be ignoring – our kindness.
How has veganism helped you personally?
To be able to live in sync with one’s conscience is the best gift possible. It has improved my health and my life immeasurably. I turned vegan five years ago and am now focused on going towards a whole food, plant-based diet.
Is there any other forum like yours in Bangalore working towards the spread of veganism?
Yes, there are many, including BBAL, Vegan Bangalore, and so on. This movement is going viral.
What are your plans for the future where veganism is concerned and with Whitefield Rising?
Whitefield Rising supports initiatives that impact our world positively. It will retain support to veganism for all the reasons mentioned above. It is important to remember that Whitefield Rising is a platform and not an organisation. It doesn’t own any initiative but stands behind those it believes in.
Date: 30 March 2019