When I was thinking about the topic of today’s episode, veganism in Nepal, it seemed oddly out of place. It’s not that being vegan is new in Nepal—historically many Hindus and Buddhists have not eaten meat or dairy products—but I was associating veganism with the emerging movement in the west, which probably more than anything else reveals the overwhelming reach of western culture. Of course, the basic diet is the same, but there are similarities and differences, noted in my chat with Suresh Prasad Sharma, Chair of the World Vegan Organisation—Nepal.
Both here and abroad the new wave of veganism is being led by young people, and shared and promoted on social media. It has various motivations globally: to eat more healthily, to reduce the impact on the planet of a diet that includes meat and dairy, and to prevent cruelty to animals. For Suresh, this last point is what transformed him from being a vegetarian into a vegan: the treatment of dairy cows. Somehow I naively thought that in Nepal the cow—which is worshipped by Hindus and protected in law—was always pampered by loving farmers on small family farms. According to Suresh that’s far from the truth.
One major difference between being vegan in Nepal and say in my home country, Canada, is that made-for-vegan products are hard to find. The ones that do exist can be out of the price range of many people who are contemplating giving up meat and dairy. Suresh says that work has begun to start making products like non-dairy milk and cheese, along with mock meat, in Nepal. Perhaps the project will have progressed so that these vegan substitutes will be on display at the Himalayan Vegan Festival , scheduled for September in Kathmandu and Bhutan. In any case, one thing that I like about this episode is that it contains lots of practical information about being, or becoming, vegan in Nepal.
A couple of notes before we start:
-Suresh mentions the word ‘ahimsa’ near the end of the episode, when discussing the Buddha and tourism. It is the Nepali word for non-violence.
-Also, earlier in our chat we discuss the number of Nepali vegans who are not getting vaccinated for Covid-19. Animal testing of vaccines is one reason for that opposition, says Suresh. Afterwards I confirmed that animal testing of vaccines did occur. I’ve put a few links to that info in the Resources section.
What do you think? Are you vegan, or thinking about making the move? Let us know if this chat was helpful and if you have any follow-up questions. You can find Nepal Now, or Nepal Now pod, on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
My name is Marty Logan. I’m a long-time vegetarian but now thinking again about going vegan. I produce Nepal Now and I’ll talk to you again soon.
World Vegan Organisation—Nepal
Online Khabar article on veganism in Nepal
Animal testing of Covid-19 vaccines
Animal testing 2
Nepal Now social links
Thanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for adv
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