16 September, 2007
Posted by Dino Sarma
Of all the questions that I've ever gotten, this one has to be the most common one. Although I do have an easy out for it, which is, "I eat everything that I used to, with the exception of the dairy and eggs. See, I was raised Indian vegetarian, and we generally eat a lot of food that's already vegan. This tiny little step was easy for me." This is what I call my quick and dirty answer. It's my default for if I'm in a hurry, can't be bothered to spend more time with the person, or am really not in the mood to launch into a dissertation about my dietary habits. It's also an easy out for me, and I know that I shouldn't use it quite so much, because it's going to start making vegans who weren't raised with my lifestyle seem like they're deprived or something.
If I do have more time, I'll go into further depth. "Well, there's grains, pasta, fresh and cooked vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, dark leafy greens (which I hope you're getting enough of!), lots of beans, legumes, and other such things that I eat all the time." That's closer to reality for me, because although a lot of my food is heavily based on Indian cuisine, there's plenty of it that I improvise, or randomly make up on the spot. Calling the food that I make at home "Indian vegan" would be a gross underestimation from reality. Come to think of it, I eat a huge variety of foods, straight from the produce aisle, and eat more of a variety, now that I've realised that not everything need have dairy in it to be a meal (the pitfall that many Indian vegetarians fall into).
Finally, if I'm reaching the end of my rope, and the person's getting on my nerves, there's always the, "I eat such a variety that I wrote a cookbook about it, that's available on Amazon, which people are buying as we speak. How 'bout you?"