BENGALURU: Vegan singer Monica Dogra says she felt deprived when she changed her diet over a year ago, despite being a vegetarian since she was 12 years old.
"It was challenging to make that adjustment, I won’t lie. Firstly, my body had so many cravings. Initially, I used to eat a lot of bread and sugar - because it felt substantial. Now I’m lactose intolerant," she says.
The actress and musician adds that she hears the argument all the time - that eating meat is the natural thing to do as we are on top of the food chain. But she believes times have changed. "Old ways are unsustainable with the level of consumption and population in the modern world. There is no denying that the modern world needs some reinventing in the way we interact with Mother Earth. We cause so much waste, we hurt our animals, we thoughtlessly tear down our forests. A vegan diet is the easiest thing one can do to reduce our carbon footprints. You’ll also notice you just feel better," she says, adding, "It will take time for the body to adjust, but once it does, it will make you a more even-tempered human. I guarantee it."
Now, she's comfortable being vegan and she consumes a high-vibrational diet. But is she strict, like many others? "Not yet, I still have my leather shoes.... but I’m trying to only purchase cruelty-free products from now on," she admits.
Though her family thought it to be her another one of her crazy ideas, they are now supportive. "My family still eats non-vegetarian food. I’ve always been the outsider - asking questions and making changes. Now, when I’m at home, we all go to vegan restaurants together to try the many delicacies available these days. I often hear them say that if they could eat like this all the time, they'd be vegan," she says. But she doesn't believe in convincing others to turn vegan. Rather, she thinks a choice must come from peoples' own inspiration. "I don’t preach. It never works. I just hope to lead by example," she adds.
Monica's live performances have gained a reputation worldwide. Her energy, infused with heavy production and live drums to accompany her vocals, make her music exciting, and the hip hop to Dogri folk elements shine through. Following a vegan diet is hard, especially when you travel to western countries. "Europe is the hardest," she says, but she manages with some cooking or packing her own food. Sometimes, she has even have had to challenge herself to fast during the day. "Resisting the situation is what makes it the hardest," she says.
Watch Monica Dogra perform material from her upcoming EP at the city's first vegan festival 'Wilderfest' at VR Bengaluru today. "The set includes dancers, which has been so much fun... it’s-high energy bass music. On stage with me is Dutty Deedz on decks, and Linford on the drums. My dancers are Kaprila and Somya," she says, signing off.