HYDERABAD: Can a plant-based diet prevent the next pandemic? Recently, there has been discussions about how a change in food habits is required to restore balance in nature and save the planet.
In India, an NGO named Ahimsa Trust has launched a digital plant-based campaign called ‘Plants Are Power’ to inspire Indians to change to a healthier lifestyle, and to help them realise that in doing so, one can make an immediate impact on the planet. So far, celebrities like Lisa Haydon, Neha Dhupia and Kris Srikkanth have backed the campaign urging India to take the 21-Day Challenge.
Talking to Express, founders of the Trust, Sethu Vaidyanathan and Parag Agarwal, said: "The current health crisis due to COVID-19 is a stark reminder that there is an urgent need to change our food habits and switch to a healthier lifestyle. The rise in the number of people looking for an alternative source of food has increased. This is where a plant-based diet is most suitable. Consumption of meat and other animal products are damaging our health slowly, and also the planet. In the past few years, the number of infections passed on by animals have increased. HIV came from chimpanzees, and many more diseases which followed have animal as sources."
"Animals are often bred and kept in crowded enclosures in an unhygienic way, which can lead to many pathogens getting transmitted to our food. They are also pumped up with antibiotics that can harm our body. The meat industry also uses an inordinate amount of water, which is damaging for the environment," they added.
But does a plant-based diet fulfill all nutritional requirements of the body? "Most people believe that a plant-based diet does not provide adequate nutrients like protein and vitamins; there is also a misconception that we need to eat meat to build muscles and become stronger to do well in sports or to be healthy. This is not true — there are many sportspersons like Virat Kohli who swear by such a diet."