• Life on the Veg

Introducing our Vegan of the week.....Anna!🌎💚🌱

Name: Anna Bhalla

Location: Doha, Qatar

Plant-Based for: 3 years, 2 months

Occupation: Strategic Communications Consultant


What made you become Vegan/Plant-Based?

Primarily health. I was diagnosed with a medical condition in 2015 and while medication was the suggested path to take, I knew it was not going to cure the symptoms. After a tremendous amount of research going through case studies, healthy eating, etc., I decided eating whole foods was the way to go. While I still pop a daily pill, I enjoy the benefits of a plant life!

What benefits do you see/feel since becoming Vegan? (this could be health, or ethical).

More energy

Lesser flatulence

Feel light

Better skin (Clearer and smoother skin)

Lesser stress (My job is synonymous with high pressure and deadlines. I believe animal proteins tend to generate more heat in the body and thereby has the potential for holding anger and stress within. A plant-based diet is cooling for the human system and I have felt the benefits of it greatly!).

Feel happier (This could be because I know in some way, I am contributing to saving the lives of 1 or more animals, and the planet at large).

Are there plenty of Vegan food options where you live?

As an Indian, I was exposed to a variety of vegetables while growing up and more than half of them are available in Doha (and I’m thankful for that!). While there are vegan restaurants and menu options, I believe more in whole foods and tend to stay away from packaged vegan food.

Are any of your friends or family Vegan?

My husband (Arvind) has been plant-based for the past 1.5 years and that has helped me a lot because it’s not easy cooking 2 separate meals throughout the day. He believes in it and feels the benefits as well and for that I am happy to have inspired a healthier lifestyle at our home. His support has made my plant journey smooth and easy and I will forever be grateful to him!

Some of our friends and relatives have started opting for a vegan diet on some days during the week, and they seem to feel great doing it. While we do not propagate veganism or plant-based eating to anybody, we do encourage those around us to at least give it a try and inform themselves by reading and watching documentaries. I am happy my recipes are being used by some as a kickstart to their plant-based journey.

Is there anything you don’t like about being Vegan?

To be honest, I dislike most of the processed and packaged foods. While I admit it’s at least better than eating animal protein and is a quick fix for busy people, I would still minimize it. Most of them have an artificial flavour that I don’t quite enjoy but that’s just me! Also, it does get difficult to eat outside,

What is your favourite Vegan meal/food?

As I said, I’m not a big fan of ready to eat vegan meals. However, my absolute comfort food (Indian style) is Vegan yogurt with some rice and a tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds, with a touch of salt. I am sorted 😊

Is there any Vegan food you dislike?

The sausages! There’s something not right about them – I can’t put a finger on it.

Have you got any top tips for anyone who may be starting a plant-based/vegan lifestyle?

Begin with reading about it…a lot of reading…get different perspectives! Watch some of these movies like ‘What the Health’ or ‘Cowspiracy’ or the most recent one… ‘Game Changers’. Go slow. Start 1 meal at a time….1 day at a time…1 week at a time and so on. Do not be in a hurry – plant-based lifestyle is not magic. It is a way of living a sustainable life. Let it grow on you.

Your final thoughts?

I just want to tell everyone reading this….

Go with the flow…explore…experience…listen to your heart, your mind and most importantly your stomach! Your experience will always be different from someone else’s, so pay attention to what ‘your’ body needs.

Don’t be a prisoner…For the vegans / plant-based eaters, don’t be too harsh on yourselves. If you go weak or run out of options and have to bite into that dairy cheese, just do it. This is not a military diet or a religious one, this is a lifestyle to lift you up, so let it guide you in its own way and form.

Meditate…While we all work out to shape our bodies, and eat clean to cleanse our bodies, we also need to meditate to cleanse our mind and soul. Again, read about it and inform yourself before you begin anything. Start small with 30 seconds and build it up from there.

I started my Insta page a while ago but have only recently started engaging a lot more. Visit @plantbasedindian if you are looking for inspiration and ways to make your own whole food meals and desserts. I hope with every post, I can help make this journey a tad bit easier for you. Your health is in your hands. Plant Power to You!

Thank you Anna! For more veginspiration and INCREDIBLE whole-food-based cooking, please give Anna a follow on the Gram @plantbasedindian 🌱💚🌱💚

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