Vegan is the future
The Indian Vegan Movement is gathering momentum among various groups in society due to its health benefits, climate change issues, and animal welfare causes. The vegan lifestyle and its ethical choices have prompted many to not just adopt veganism, but enthusiasts have also created business opportunities, calling themselves ‘plantrepreneurs’! Considering the rapidly growing support for the vegan way of living (not just diet), World Vegan Organisation in association with Vegan First launched its first edition of the non-profit initiative, Vegan Indian Conference 2019. Hosted at The Suryaa, New Delhi, the two-day conference was held on the 6th and 7th of July, which saw a diverse panel of leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, authors, and other notable personalities united by the common cause of veganism.
Unveiling the conference, Dr Manilal, CEO of PETA India, talked about how the cause can be strongly backed by well-organised outreach programmes to create a significant impact. Panellists unmasked the environmentally degrading beauty and fashion trends, which are now taking a new direction, thanks to experts like Kaveeta Pol, Purvi Doshi, and Naveen Jha, who have made cruelty-free and vegan alternatives possible without compromising on quality. Talking about the environmental impact of our food choices, the director of Cowspiracy, Keegan Kuhn, said that “According to the UN, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gases, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. Also, a third of water consumption is for animal agriculture, and in the US, 50 per cent of the livestock is fed to livestock.” Shocking!
Later, a visual address by the chief guest, Smt Maneka Gandhi, outlined the deeply ingrained religious and ayurvedic link with dairy products, which poses a barrier to the Indian Vegan Movement and that “being vegan is a political stance.” Other speakers like Seth Tibbott (founder of Tofurkey), Ken Spector, Vikas Kuthiala (angel investor), Devi Mohan, Shivya Nath (BBC vegan vlogger), Kuntal Joisher (vegan mountaineer), and many others offered their inputs on the topic ranging from starting and sustaining vegan ventures to how to stay fit on a plant-based diet. The conference displayed numerous stalls selling cruelty-free vegan products and services. Additionally, an array of vegan dishes and desserts were proof that going vegan doesn’t equate to compromising with taste or quality.
Someone correctly concluded that “Vegans are not crazy; they’re just from the future.”
Our hectic schedule and tightly-packed days have considerably deteriorated our physical and mental health. But by inculcating yoga, an ancient holistic and healing practice, we can incredibly transform our lives. From making you physically fit to pacifying your nerves, yoga promotes overall well-being in every aspect of mental and physical health. The 5000-year-old Indian origin practice that drives away stress from the mind, body, and soul through various asanas (postures), breathing practices, and meditation has gained worldwide popularity and then some.
It was a historic moment on the 11th of December 2014, when the UN declared the 21st of June as International Yoga Day. Celebrated globally since 2015, a huge gathering of around 30 thousand yoga enthusiasts, all clad in white, converged on the lawns of the Red Fort.
Organised by the Brahma Kumaris and the Ministry of Ayush, with the motive to spread awareness about the benefits of this ancient practice that maintains the synchronicity between body, mind, and soul, the 5th anniversary of the day was held with ceremonial gusto. Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Vice President of India, was invited as the chief guest at the event, themed ‘Climate Action.’
Referring to yoga as a way of life, Mr Naidu said, “Yoga entails simplicity, honesty, compassion, and respect for all creatures and nature. It is a lifestyle based on non-violence at every level: in thought, feelings, words, and actions. Yoga clears the clutter in our mind and body and leads us to find inner peace and health. The single-dimensional pursuit for more resources, wealth, pleasure, and power was leading to the erosion of values, ethics, and indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. We are now seeing the result of all this in the form of climate change and growing inequalities. We need to arrest this craving for materialistic pursuits.”
Mr Naidu concluded his speech by recommending yoga as a part of school curriculum to combat diseases and ensure physical fitness and mental equilibrium.
Rajyogini Dadi Janki Devi, chief of the Brahma Kumaris; BK Brother Brij Mohan, additional secretary general, Brahma Kumaris, Mount Abu; Dr A K Merchant, national trustee, Lotus Temple & Bahá’í Community of India; Janab Firoz Bakht Ahmed, chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad; and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
Our mind is dependent on brain functions. The brain controls most of our actions, behaviour, and desires, and even our aspirations. But despite performing the most significant functions, we are largely unaware of its circuit and powers.
Innovations in neuroscience and brain imaging technology have changed the world by helping us understand how the mind works and reacts. The Mysteries of the Brain and Mind series hosted by Indian Habitat Centre in collaboration with PSRI hospital attempts to explore the different aspects of brain in relation with our daily lives, and as far as medical science can take us.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a life-restoring therapeutic technique that cures seizures and tremors and has been approved by the FDA in 1997. It is an electrical intervention in the brain which causes stimulation in the brain tissue. According to Dr Shamsher Dwivedee, chairman, PSRI Institute of Neurosciences, “DBS aids in suppressing and augmenting the areas of the brain by giving electrical impulses. Just like tiny electrical stimuli to the nerves can activate them, triggering a volley of stimuli can benumb the nerves.” Such stimulations are useful for tremors, Parkinson’s disease (where the oral medications have stopped responding), OCD (obsessive- compulsive disorder), depression, and chronic pain (only symptomatic without a cause).
Emphasising on the miraculous results of DBS, he explained that “DBS acts like a pacemaker for the brain, wherein it can restore normal functions through induced stimulations.” Interestingly, the non-invasive DBS technique forgoes the need for surgery and only requires the placement of a few small devices at different points on the outside of the head. Cephaly is one such device available in the market and has proven to be extremely useful for migraine patients. The Indian market showcases various other on-shelf devices based on the DBS technique, which help in controlling essential tremors, seizures, and hyperactive bladders.
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