Ok..I’m not actually vegan. I am allergic to cow dairy and eggs…and I’m a vegetarian. I can (and will) eat goat dairy if given the chance! If you know India, than you know the expression HOLY COW takes on a whole new meaning.
Cows are the most sacred animal to Hindus and are proctected in most states in India. That said, Indians really love cow dairy. They pray with it, eat it, even wash people’s feet with it!
Being vegetarian in India is easy, there is even a whole caste of people ((Brahmin priests), that are pure vegetarian. It is a common practice for restaurants to advertise “Pure Vegetarian or Non-Veg. on their signage.
Being vegan in India on the other hand, is quite the austerity. Alot of vegetarian food is cooked with dairy of one kind or another. Watch out for food cooked in whey, butter and cream, with paneer and chenna cheese, as well as milk, butter and cheese-based sweets.
And for those die hard vegans-you will have to endure the hardest penance of all…..NO CHAI! The thought just makes me want to cry😂!
Here are a few of my basic items that help me thouroughly enjoy India without the stomach ache!
(From left to right)
1. Herbal tea (make sure you have a tea kettle in your room!)
2. Nocciolata-like Nutella but dairy free and 100x more heavenly!
3. Chai (of course!) with powdered coconut milk.
4. Purium superfoods shake- a nutrient dense, easily digestable drink I have for breakfast.
5. Probiotics and enzymes- take with meals, just in case!
6. Activated charcoal- sometimes that chai is irresistable! This will curb the stomach pain;)
7. Triphala- Ayurvedic formula that gently cleanses the colon and aids in healthy elimination.
If you are dairy free because you are lactose intolerant, I have a secret for you…. Ghee(clarified butter) has no lactose! It is a pure oil. You can eat ghee all day long and not feel any bad effects on the digestive tract. On the contrary, it stimulates your digestion and has many more health-giving benefits. I highly recommend ghee for almost anyone to enjoy😋. Try asking the restaurant if they have ghee and can substitute it for butter.
If you are very sensitive to dairy, I suggest trying to find a guesthouse that will let you use their kitchen. There are little markets everywhere, and cooking for yourself is always the most reliable choice. Also, going to places that are popular with foreigners, will certainly give you an upper hand on finding vegan choices. Indian businesses are very enthusiastic to accommodate the demands of the foreign traveler market.
Good luck and enjoy navigating the land of the Holy Cow!