Why adequate stomach acid levels are vital

Why adequate stomach acid levels are vital
By Anuradha Sawhney Nov 13 2014
Tags: Leisure Writing
Ritoo Bajaj was losing hair in large quantities. She changed her brand of shampoo but it did not help. She took supplements of vitamin B12 and ensured that her vitamin D3 levels were optimal. She tried different vaids and hakims in a bid to stop the hair loss. All to no avail.

Then, someone guided her to Dr Hemant Phatak who listened to her story, then asked about her digestive history. On being told that she suffered from regular heartburn attacks, especially after eating, and had a lot of gas and bloating, he asked her to check her stomach acid levels. She told him that her regular doctor had treated her for excessive stomach acid on numerous occasions and in fact she almost always consumed an antacid after each meal. Phatak insisted on her checking her stomach acid levels. The results surprised her.

Dhruv Chandiram is in his early 40s and has a stressful job where he works long hours, sometimes over 14 hours at a stretch. He is unable to eat at regular times, and picks up food whatever he can when he gets a chance. He suffers from regular acidity attacks, especially by evening time. Sometimes he feels that the acid rising from the stomach will suffocate him. The burning is terrible. He carries a bottle of antacid around with him and at the first sign of any discomfort, he takes a spoonful or two.

Bajaj was found to have low levels of stomach acid (hypochlorhydria). She started a home remedy of consuming apple cider vinegar before her two main meals. Because she wanted a long term cure, Phatak prescribed tablets made from beetroot extracts which help to increase acid levels in the stomach. Today, after ten years of having suffered digestive acidity trouble, Bajaj is finally at ease. Best of all, her hair fall has stopped.

Cases of people taking antacids and acid blocking tablets are on the rise. Doctors prescribe them when someone complains of heartburn, acid reflux or other similar digestive conditions. They treat what they think is excessive stomach acid being produced in the stomach. Their stomach acid levels are hardly ever tested, and people pop antacids or other medicines to reduce acid levels.

Low stomach acid and excessive stomach acid symptoms are similar and so doctors tend to treat acidity problems with acid blocking medication. This is why many people are rarely fully cured, since the root of their problem is often low levels of stomach acid, and they are given medicine to lower their stomach acid even more.

As I have mentioned before, if stomach acid levels are not adequate, nutrients like minerals, vitamins and proteins, carbohydrates and fats, among others cannot be digested by the body. Also, immunity of the body is impaired as normally it is the stomach acid which kills any bacteria or harmful organism which enter the stomach. Without adequate acid levels, bad bacteria thrive in the stomach and food instead of getting digested starts to ferment because of the bacteria.

This acidic mix from the stomach often regurgitates back via the esophagus, causing acid reflux. The pain, when this happens, is terrible since the esophagus lining is not protected against the acid. Low stomach acid can lead to many problems, including stomach cancer.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


The humble pumpkin and its endless benefits

The humble pumpkin and its endless benefits
By Anuradha Sawhney Nov 20 2014
Tags: Leisure Writing
Can you feel it where you live? The nip in the air? Mornings and evenings in Pune are so nice and cool. I hope the rest of the day soon catches up too! It’s still pretty sunny here, and can get hot too on some days!

Halloween has just passed and I was in a part of the world where I actually saw hollowed out lanterns made from red pumpkins, and little children dressed as scary witches and ghouls! Such fun. I tried my hand at making a lantern too but sadly it lacked finesse!

While the west has pumpkin season only for a couple of months, we in India have the good fortune of getting kaddu (as it is called here, or even lal bhopla) around the year. I hated kaddu when I was a child, and would go to great lengths to not eat it, even trying to feed it to my dog, Tiger, surreptitiously! But alas! Even Tiger hated it! And today look at me…I eat as much of it as I can, not just in cooked form but also raw! Howzzat! Life sure has a way of getting even, doesn’t it!

Red pumkin has a lot of goodness in it. It has high fibre content, and you know that’s what we all need to aim for, fibre in our meals. And not just fibre, it is full of vitamins. According to the National Institute of Health, one regular sized cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200 per cent of our recommended daily intake of vitamin A! And they are full of beta carotene too. This is an antioxidant which is helpful in cancer prevention.

For those of you who are calorie conscious, one cup of cooked kaddu only has 49 calories! And its seeds help to reduce bad cholesterol. Pumpkin is also full of vitamin C. In fact, if you ate one cup of cooked pumpkin, you would get almost 20 per cent of your daily requirement!

I have given you a recipe today from Bollywood actor Vidya Balan. She loves red pumpkin and this recipe below is her favourite. She told me it reminds her of meals eaten with her whole family when she was growing up. And she says her mom makes the best pumpkin pachadi. So let’s see if you can top that!

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


Avoid sugar, eat lentils and fruits, you’ll be fine

Avoid sugar, eat lentils and fruits, you’ll be fine
By Anuradha Sawhney Nov 27 2014
Tags: Leisure Writing
Last week I underwent my annual medical tests. Except in this case they were not annual, but after three years. I had been lazy and that is not a good thing where health is concerned. It was with heart in mouth that I waited for the reports. I knew that while during these three years I had ensured I ate the right foods, I had not exercised at all. I was lazy and every evening I said I would walk the next day, and every morning my bed would not let me go. While I was confident that my cholesterol levels would be fine since I do not eat any animal products, my big worry was that my sugar levels should not have gone up since diabetes is a scary possibility for sedentary individuals.

When the results came, I was pleasantly surprised. My sugar fasting was 90 and post prandial was 100. Not bad. Very encouraging in fact. The negative was that I had put on a couple of kilos in weight and I decided to be generous and attribute this to my recent European holiday. Of course, the truth is that I did not walk or exercise for all these years.

I thought I would share my daily meal plan with you to help you and your family to gain good health. I start my day with a green smoothie. This is made from two leafy vegetables and two vegetables. So a combination could be a handful of spinach leaves, some coriander leaves, one cucumber and one tomato. Whiz it all together in the blender and add a dash of lime juice, then dilute till the consistency you are comfortable with and drink it. You can use any greens and any vegetables, including pumpkin, bottle gourd, ivy gourd or tendli, karela, etc. Add some ginger for additional health benefits sometimes.

A little later, when I start to feel hungry, I have a lentil based breakfast. Lentils are full of fibre and light to digest. So my breakfast could be a besan omelette, or a thepla, or some sprouts with tomatoes and cucumbers chopped small and added into them (or just plain sprouts). I sometimes eat a moong dal dosa, or moong dal idlis…..the combinations of things one can make with lentils is long.

In case my lunch is delayed, I eat fruits. It could be bananas, papaya, apples, melons, pomegranates, really any fruit that is in season. I just ensure that I maintain a healthy gap in between eating the fruit and then eating a main meal.

My lunch is a bowl of dal with coriander in it, two types of vegetables, some salad and two rotis. If I have a craving for something sweet after the meal, I pop in a couple of black seedless raisins. This meal takes me through till evening when I have a cup of tea. I make it with cardamom and ginger and use almond milk as a whitener! To sweeten it I use organic jaggery granules.

By about 6 pm when I am feeling hungry, I have a fruit and half an hour later I have a handful of nuts. I bought different seeds…. flax, melon, pumpkin and roasted them. After they cooled I placed them in a jar and eat a handful mixed with some roasted almonds or walnuts or cashews daily.

Dinner normally consists of a world cuisine, like Thai curry and brown rice, khow suey, stir fried vegetables with homemade bread, or a noodle broth full of vegetables. I sprinkle the roasted seeds on them where possible.

While we should all enjoy what we eat, its important to ensure that we eat only whole grain with no added sugar.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


Think paleo: no grain, no sugar, no processed food

Think paleo: no grain, no sugar, no processed food
By Anuradha Sawhney Dec 08 2014
Tags: Leisure Writing
I am writing today about my version of the paleo diet that’s becoming increasingly popular around the world. The diet advocates a fat heavy diet, with meats and fish, but we all know the adverse effects of consuming such foods, especially with animals treated the way they are and hormone and antibiotics injected into them that are then are passed on to consumers. This is how the paleo diet can still work without the meat.

First, what is the paleo diet? It’s the diet presumed to have been followed by our ancestors. It comes from the word paleolithic. In early days, there was no processed food and no added sugar available. People did not drink milk, so there were no dairy products either. People hunted their foods, cooked and it and ate it. There was no diabetes, no hyper tension, no cancer, no heart disease. These are all diseases which have come about as a result of modern day convenience foods like breads, cakes, puffs, biscuits, chewda, dairy, maida, sugar, hydrogenated oils as well as ready to eat meals.

Even during the time when our grandparents were growing up, the food they ate was nutritious and devoid of any additives. People grew their own grains, ground them, cooked with them using oil that was not adulterated, grew their own fruits and vegetables and used jaggery for sweetening, rice straight from the farm and no maida whatsoever.

Have you noticed how that generation is so much more healthy than the ones that came after them? My grandparents lived to be almost 90 years old, and it was a healthy 90 years, not riddled with diseases and ailments. I do believe that this is because in their growing up years, this generation had access to good food, free of all adulterants, so much so that it did not matter whether they smoked (my grandfather smoked every day) or ate meat (he was a non vegetarian) or even drank, they still led a healthy life till the end. It is only since the commercialisation of foods as well as a sedentary lifestyle and stress that all these diseases made their appearance.

Paleo diets don’t allow the consumption of legumes, grains, dairy, packaged products that have added sugar as well as hydrogenated oils. So what can you eat? Well, you can eat nuts and vegetables. And because we cannot envisage meals without breads and rotis, it’s easy enough to make a healthy version without using flour. How? Substitute nut flour in your bread instead of maida, make a smoothie out of coconut water and coconut cream instead of milk, eat a lot of sweet potatoes and yams as they have complex carbohydrates, don’t use hydrogenated oils, steam or lightly cook your vegetables so their nutrients stay intact.

Dr Jeya Prakash from London says when he was in medical school, they hardly ever saw anyone with diabetes or hypertension below 60 years of age. Now it begins at 25 and people have cardiac arrests at 30. The reason, he says, is a combination of stress, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food habits. Instead of an allopathic approach to health, Prakash follows the paleo principle of recommending food that aids the “absorption mechanism of the stomach” — nuts, vegetables, herbal juices, spirulina…” Also, he says no grains. No sugar. No processed food. No milk.” Basically food that nurtures your body.

If you are trying out the paleo diet, please remember to keep your protein intake proper. Consult your doctor before changing your diet.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


If you stop eating junk, you’ll do yourself a favour

If you stop eating junk, you’ll do yourself a favour
By Anuradha Sawhney Jul 28 2016
Tags: Leisure Writing
Do you remember I had wri­tten some time ago on the Wo­rld Health Organization dec­laring the dangers from con­suming pro­cessed meats as dangerous as that of using asbestos? Well, recently in the United States, Susan Levin from PCRM.org reiterated that schools and hospitals should drop items like hot dogs and pepperoni from their menu. Last year, the same non-profit had filed a petition urging the US department of agriculture to stop distributing carcinogenic hot dogs and other processed meats to children through the national school lunch programme.

Here’s why they want this to happen… Eating just 50gm of processed meat a day increases colorectal cancer risk, according to one study. An ongoing analysis of nutrition and cancer by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute of Cancer Research found in 2007 that that processed meat products are “convincing” as risk factors for colorectal cancer, increasing risk by up to 50 per cent for those who eat the most. Each 50gm portion of processed meat — the size of a typical hot dog — eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent. Studies have also linked processed meat to prostate cancer, bladder cancer, diabetes, heart disease and early death.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women, with one in 20 developing it in his or her lifetime. In India too, in just this year, I have personally met five people who have colon cancer. All in their mid-30s! And that is just in my friend’s circle. Can you imagine how many more there must be? And one of the reasons for this is because there is increasingly food being sold which uses processed meats like hot dogs, sausages and pepperoni. The youngsters of today just don’t realise the seriousness of eating the junk food from the western countries.

Nearly a quarter of the meat products Americans consume are processed meat, which also include bacon, pepperoni, deli slices, sausage and any other meat products that have been preserved with additives or otherwise manipulated to alter colour, taste and durability. The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend limiting processed meat products.

Neal Barnard, MD, says it’s easy to give good health to children, the sick and everyone. Just consuming delicious, disease-fighting plant-based meals help to create a healthier future for everyone. Replace deadly proc­essed meats with nutritious foods that kids don’t get enough of — like bananas and other fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. And see how they sail through their childhood and adulthood in good health.

Top actor Gulshan Grover, gave me this recipe for brown rice poha for my book. This poha tastes fabulous and you can substitute the brown rice flakes with even jowar or red rice flakes.

Brown rice poha

Ingredients: 1 cup beaten brown rice flakes; 1 medium-sized onion, chopped small; 2 green chillies; 1 tsp oil (optional) 8-10 curry leaves; ¾ tsp black mustard seeds; 1 tbsp roasted peanuts; salt to taste

Method: Put the rice flakes in a colander and rinse them under running water. Leave them in the colander to drain. Chop the onion fine and slit the green chillies lengthwise.

Put a non-stick pan over low to moderate heat. When hot, add the oil (optional), the curry leaves and mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the onion and green chillies. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till the onions turn translucent. Mix in the peanuts and rice flakes. Stir for 1 minute. Taste and add salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


Hottest new protein comes from drumstick plant

Hottest new protein comes from drumstick plant
By Anuradha Sawhney Aug 04 2016
Tags: Leisure Writing
Have you heard of a new word doing the rounds nowadays? Something that everyone tells you we must have for the best health benefits? Something which is actually a very common item but the English name can really confound one. Mor­inga… have you heard of it? The first I heard of it, I was awestruck, thinking with a name like that, I wonder if we will find it in India. And then I did my research and guess what I found out? Moringa actually refers to the humble drumstick plant!

The moringa, or moringa oleifera to use its scientific name, is widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s most nutrient-dense plants. Today we can buy moringa powder which is made from naturally-dried moringa leaves. Moringa leaves are 25 per cent plant protein and 31 per cent fibre and very high in antioxidants. Since moringa powder is a natural source of these nutrients, it is more accessible than manufactured suppl­ements. This means our bodies can absorb the nutrients more easily, ensuring a greater uptake.

According to purehealing foods.com, moringa leaf is best known as an excellent source of nutrition and natural energy booster. This energy boost is not based on sugar and so it is sustained. Moringa is also soothing. It helps lower blood pressure and is a sleep aid. Its detoxifying effect may come from moringa’s ability to purify water. Moringa acts as a coagulant attaching itself to harmful material and bacteria. It is believed that this process is taking place in the body as well.

While the continued use of moringa for food and medicinal purposes by cultures in separate and distant parts of the world attest to its beneficial effects, moringa is a recent “discovery” of modern science. But, of course, we in India knew about it from like forever, didn’t we? The leaves of moringa oleifera are nature’s multi-vitamin providing seven times the vitamin C of oranges, four times the calcium of milk (and plant based calcium on top of it), four times the vitamin A of carrots, three times the potassium of bananas and two times the protein of yogurt (sans cholesterol and animal protein to boot).

On top of that, science is proving moringa to be a powerhouse of nutrients; 90 are known to date, with the possibility of more yet to be identified. If that were not enough, moringa has no known impurities.

Moringa has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food. It has six times the antioxidants of goji berries and comparable levels to the antioxidant powerhouse mat­cha (green tea). Antioxidants are essential for protecting, repairing and preventing cell damage, helping support the ageing process of the skin in the long-term. And guess what! The skin benefits of moringa are so exceptional that moringa powder was one of the first food items to ever be sold in the beauty halls of prestigious London department stores Lib­erty and Selfridges!!

All you young body builders, who are on the look out for protein boosts, stop con­suming all those whey pr­oteins. They do you more harm than good. And turn to moringa leaves. Yes, that’s right, moringa oleifera leaves are almost 25 per cent protein, which is unusually high for a plant. Moringa powder con­tains nine essential amino acids making it a complete source of protein, supporting the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


Do opt for plant-based diet, just like Team USA

Do opt for plant-based diet, just like Team USA
By Anuradha Sawhney Aug 11 2016
Tags: Leisure Writing
The OLympic fever is on. The world is watching with bated breath as top class athletes’ battle it out for a gold, silver and bronze. I am for sure! Everyone must have read about the doping allegations that some athletes have faced. Not sure why people don’t realise that they don’t need external boosts like steroids and their ilk to do well. Diet helps. Don’t believe me? Read on then.

A few top athletes from the USA have asked for seven dietary guidelines for a healthy gut, which include building meals around plant-based foods, recommendations for fibre and prebiotics intake and avoiding red meat and high-fat foods. Gut health is important for athletic performance, immune function, and disease prevention.

The seven dietary guidelines, modelled by Team USA athletes April Ross, Venus and Serena Williams, and Kendrick Farris, are as follows:

First, they recommend building meals around plant-based foods: Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. This plant-based foundation supports symbiosis, or microbial harmony, in our gut. A thriving microbiota helps maximise absorption of nutrients and vitamins, while regulating immune function, inflammation, hormones, mood, and behaviour.

Additionally, one should aim to consume at least 50 to 55gm of fibre each day. Historic populations consumed nearly three to four times as much fibre as we do today. The average American today consumes 16 gm of fibre. Increasing dietary fibre intake by at least 14gm a day is associated with a 10 per cent decrease in net energy intake.

We should consume at least 5 to 8 gm of plant-based prebiotics each day. This is easy to accomplish with two cups of leafy greens or a half-cup serving of beans. Good sources include Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, raw dandelion greens, leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, whole wheat, beans, bananas, oats, and soybeans.

Adding of fermented foods, or probiotics, to our diet is important. Dietary sources for these include kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, water kefir and kombucha.

One should avoid red meat, high-fat dairy products, fried foods, food additives and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs include proteins and fats exposed to high heat and sugar molecules, like sausage links and candy bars.

It is important to limit fat intake. Especially if you have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Instead, opt for healthful sources, including an ounce of nuts or seeds or a small amount of avocado.

One should use antibiotics only when necessary and avoid using for viral illnesses. Overexposure to antibiotics destroys good gut bacteria, along with the bad.

According to PCRM.org, we can manipulate our dietary choices to create colonies where beneficial bacteria flourish. Whether one wants to treat diabetes, reduce the risk of a heart attack or bolster athletic performance, one can start by building meals around colourful, plant-based foods.

The microbiota includes 1,000 different species and weighs 4 to 6 pounds. What we eat feeds beneficial bacteria that respond to changes in just 24 hours. This influences both immune function and our risk for chronic disease.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


Change your unhealthy habits before it’s too late

Change your unhealthy habits before it’s too late
By Anuradha Sawhney Aug 18 2016
Tags: Leisure Writing
Did you know that India has about 63 million people suffering from diabetes and this figure is likely to go up to 80 million by 2025? According to an Indo-US collaborative study, Delhi alone has more than 30 lakh people suffering from diabetes. Further, a study conducted by Dr Anoop Misra, chairman Fortis-C-DOC hospital showed that 37 per cent of urban Indians suffer from diabetes and pre-diabetes.

So many people suffering from something so harmful, something that can kill you and, ironically, something that is so easily preventable and reversible, without medications. I have no clue why people are not ready to reverse diabetes, rather than keep trying to control it using medications. These medications do not cure diabetes, they just work to keep it in check.

Do you ever think about who is at risk? Well, if you had asked your doctor this question a decade ago, he would have probably replied: “someone old, obese or with a family history.” Today, however, diabetes has turned into an epidemic. The figures quoted at the start of the article prove it. More and more young people are being affected by this disease. Thanks to an increasing sedentary lifestyle led by most people and the prevalence of junk food all over, diabetes is becoming more common than ever.

Dr Rajesh Khadgawat, additional professor, department of endocri-nology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, says there is an increase in prevalence of insulin resistance among the Indian popu-lation today. Lifestyle plays a crucial role here. Factors such as lack of physical activity, poor dietary habits, lack of sleep and stress increase the risk of diabetes. Also, more than the old age, it’s obesity that is becoming the leading cause of type 2 diabetes.

How would you know if you have diabetes? Well, only checking fasting and post prandial levels sugar levels is not a definitive indicator of diabetes or being pre diabetic as was proved by my mother recently. Her fasting and post prandial sugar levels were in the normal range, but because I suspected she may be diabetic or at least pre diabetic (because I knew her lifestyle involved eating at least one meal out daily, she did no exercise if she could help it and her diet included dairy and eggs), I asked her to get her fasting insulin level checked. And I was right. Her fasting insulin level was 11.50, something that rings alarm bells for those who know. She was definitely pre-diabetic, on her way to getting full blown diabetes if she was not careful.

I asked her to start on a regime of increasing her dietary fibre consciously. Fortunately, she listened to me. She started to include a glass of cold pressed vegetable juice in her daily diet, as well as consciously walking for at least 45 minutes daily. I made her give up all dairy products and eggs. She brought her fasting insulin level down to 7.50 in 2 months and I hope she will continue till the level is down to four at least.

Please realise, diet and exercise hold the key to fighting diabetes; change your unhealthy habits before it’s too late.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


The world is going vegan with a vengeance!

The world is going vegan with a vengeance!
By Anuradha Sawhney Sep 01 2016
Tags: Leisure Writing
It’s good to be back. I had gone on a little holiday, to very far off lands, including the land of Santa Claus. I visited Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle and yes, I met Santa Claus! So what if it’s not December, he was busy getting things ready for Christmas. It was a very cold holiday and yet it was enlightening in many ways. I discovered that it was possible to get vegan food even in remote Finland. But more than that, I discovered that the world is going vegan with a vengeance. And I say that with pride, believe me.

Whenever I travel, I am always scared that I will have to eat only salad leaves and breads, because I am vegan. This trip I had the added challenge of being gluten free! Now I know that if I were to visit any Indian restaurant I could always get a vegan meal and a gluten free meal, too. But I like to try out other cuisines, not just eat Indian food. The good news: I was able to stay vegan and gluten free throughout a three-week trip, no problems at all.

Every city we visited had at least five vegan restaurants, with some, like Malmo in Sweden which had nine vegan eateries, including an all vegan pizza café, a vegan bar, a vegan roadside stall and a vegan mobile food van. It was such bliss finding vegan food to eat so easily. And in Vienna there was an entire vegan supermarket selling only vegan products, from staples, to chocolates, to frozen goods, to ready to eat products to cosmetics and even a café running in the store!

Even in regular supermarkets, I found entire areas dedicated to selling vegan foods, like fake meats, vegan butters, vegan cheeses, vegan soups, even vegan cakes. The number of people frequenting vegetarian restaurants is on the rise too. There was a vegetarian restaurant in Prague, whose owners were inspired by our very own Osho, which had a waiting time of two hours, every meal, every day. They served cuisines from around the world and could veganise most of their dishes on request. Bliss!

I spoke with many of the vegan café owners and they all said that they were doing well. That this year especially has been the year when there has been a boom in their sales. And they feel that a lot of it is to do with the growth in awareness of not just the cruelty that animals face in the food industry but also the awareness of the fact that unless everyone turns vegan, soon there will be no food for the growing world population. Youngsters could be seen leafleting at festivals and informing people about the dangers ahead for the survival of the world if we continue with our meat eating habits. Interestingly, all the café owners thought that good health played a big part too in people wanting to eat vegan and vegetarian food!

In every city, you could find vegan ice cream so easily! There was an outlet dedicated to selling different flavours of vegan ice cream! And I don’t mean only gelato, I mean actual creamy ice cream! Try this simple sugar free ice cream, it takes a minute to make and yet it’s so tasty.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


Vegan celebrities as of July 2016

The rich and famous are ALWAYS coming up with new – and sometimes bizarre – ways to better their lifestyles, their looks and even their spirituality (Scientology, anyone?). But we’ve spotted an ethical new trend on the A-list horizon – veganism. A vegan is a strict vegetarian who does not eat or wear any animal products – including milk, honey, leather or wool. We salute the celebs who have overhauled their jet-setting lifestyles to make this most eco-friendly of choices…
Liam Hemsworth
Liam Hemsworth was crowned 2015’s sexiest vegan, yes that’s right. The sexiest vegan. He held the prestigious title with Jhene Aiko.
Liam decided to make the switch to veganism in early 2015 after he learned about the mistreatment of animals. “The more I was aware of, the harder and harder it was to do,” he told Men’s Fitness, of eating meat.
His Hunger Games costar Woody Harrelson suggested he try a vegan diet. Within a few months, Hemsworth was sold. “There are no negatives to eating like this,” he told the mag. “I feel nothing but positive, mentally and physically. I love it.”
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has gone vegan – and admits it has given her loads of energy: “Being vegan, it’s basically no dairy, no meat, everything is just plant based and just from the ground…I love that I’m eating more greens. It makes you feel so much better.”
J-Lo said she’d recommend it, but she really misses butter: “Butter is the one thing I miss! Butter makes everything taste better.”
Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson became a temporary vegan – cutting out animal products in the two week run-up to her wedding. A source told Us Weekly: “Jessica did a vegan diet for about two weeks…She also got quite a few B12 shots.” The star, who has been a spokesperson for Weight Watchers in the past, also embarked on a strict fitness regime before her big day, doing hardcore workouts with her trainer.
Jay-Z & Beyoncé
Joining the long list of celebrity vegans – albeit for a dedicated three-week duration only – is Jay-Z, who announced his plans to go vegan on his Life & Times blog in December 2013. The rapper wrote: “On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday, I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!! I will post my progress… Any professional vegans out there that have any great food spots please help out! Please ha. I don’t know what happens after Christmas. A semi-vegan, a full plant-based diet? Or just a spiritual and physical challenge? We’ll see…” The rapper also added that his wife Beyoncé will be joining him, too.
Tobey Maguire
Real-life Spider-Man Tobey Maguire seems to have developed a fondness for his fellow earth-dwelling creatures. The star shunned animal produce in favour of a vegan lifestyle in 2009.
Lea Michele
Glee star Lea Michele treats her body like a temple, and turned vegan for the health benefits as well as animal rights reasons. “It’s about being good to your body and the planet. I’m a foodie, but I think it’s much more fun to find things on the menu that are good for me,” she said.
Olivia Wilde
Tron actress Olivia Wilde even launched her own website, WildeThings.org , to promote the vegan lifestyle she adheres to.
Jared Leto
Actor-turned-rock-star Jared Leto and the rest of his 30 Seconds To Mars bandmates are all strict vegans. “Well, there was a time when we used to sacrifice goats, but then we all became vegans, so we’ve been sacrificing tofu before the shows!” Good to know, Jared…
 Read on for more celebrities.