World Plant Milk Day is an international day that celebrates plant-based alternatives to dairy milk. There are a variety of plants from which we can extract what is known as plant milk and they arec grains, pseudo-cereals, nuts, seeds, legumes, coconut, potato, etc. A few of them are used as a substitute for dairy milk, like cooking various dishes, making yogurt, vegan cream, and vegan cheese.Both coconut milk and almond milk have been used in many traditional dishes in India for ages. There are three main reasons people are switching to plant milks: health, the environment and animal cruelty. Research consistently shows that a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) diet – including plant milk – is good for you. Such a diet can help prevent hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer.
People experience increased energy, less bloating, improved digestion, clearer skin, reduced asthma symptoms, less inflammation, and other lasting health
benefits when they make the switch away from dairy. Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change, species extinction, loss of fresh
water, rainforest destruction and air and water pollution. Dairy is also terrible for the environment as it is responsible for massive amounts of water pollution and unnecessary land use. The slurry from dairy farms can leak into rivers and streams where it kills fish and spreads disease. Switching from dairy to plant-based milk is one of the ways in which one can significantly reduce their impact on the planet in terms of carbon footprint, water use, and land use. Millions of people around the world are now learning about the horrible suffering inherent in the dairy industry and are switching from cow’s milk to the rich variety of plant-based alternatives. The dairy industry is a cause of immeasurable stress to cows. Due to the enormous volume of milk production, dairy cows must endure uncomfortable and stressful conditions that do not meet even their most basic needs. A recent video that exposed the standard practice of the use of a ‘khaal bachcha’ – a male calf starved to death, because it is of no use for milk production, and then stuffed with hay – in Indian dairy farms helped many switch to plant
Darshana Muzumdar, India Campaign Manager for Million Dollar Vegan, who has been vegan for over eight years said, “How can cow’s milk be considered a health food when 65% of the world’s population is intolerant to it? I used to suffer from this and had no idea why. The symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhoea used to show within minutes of having any dairy product and I little realized that my body was telling me that it was not something I should be consuming. The struggle was real and I had stopped consuming dairy when I was with people for fear of the repercussions, and the embarrassment it would cause me.”
Rohan Chate of Getmoksha.com, which is a vegan online portal that delivers vegan food all across \India and is supporting Million Dollar Vegan India with their food giveaways, said, “Ever since the lockdown started more and more people are becoming aware of the connection between pandemics and animal based industries. We have seen a huge increase in demand for plant based milks during this pandemic and the demand is still growing day by day.” Deepti Nambiar a vegan of eight years says, “People have become very conscious of their food choices because of environmental and animal rights concerns. People today want to follow a sustainable and cruelty-free lifestyle and realise the disastrous impact the dairy industry has on climate change and on animals. People are opting for soya and almond milk to use in their morning tea and coffee. I have felt much lighter in body and mind ever since I switched to plant milks.” This year people have been invited to take part in the 7-Day Dairy-Free Challenge on World Plant Milk Day social media platforms and the huge number of sign-ups has been a promising sign for the growing shift to plant milks.