Veganism is a plant-based diet devoid of any meat, eggs or dairy products. It is low in saturated fat and high in fibre, antioxidants, & phytochemicals. Veganism is a perplexing ethical matter and the decision of whether or not to adopt it in one's personal pack of beliefs. Many Indian celebrities including our very own nation's current Prime Minister Narendra Modi have admitted to being vegans at some point in their lives. 

Bollywood celebrities and sportsmen are endorsing this recent trend of relishing plant-based diets by spreading awareness and being role models. So let’s check out the Top 5 Indian celebrities who are proud vegans!

Aarathi Swaminathan

To start the list of proud vegans, who is better than our newly joined India's First Vegan Iron Woman, 35-year old Aarathi Swaminathan who earned the first rank from India for the Ironman triathlon race. It’s one of the toughest endurance sports and involves a 3.8 km swim, 180.25 km cycling and 42.20 running. She was born a vegetarian, but consumed eggs regularly to obtain protein. However, in 2015, she decided that this wasn’t ethical and began the shift to becoming a complete vegan by 2018.

“I only consume food that is cruelty-free - doesn't contribute to animal suffering or exploitation,” she told SELF magazine. “My diet now is eggs, vegetables, fruits, tofu, quinoa.” Swaminathan also added that there are many myths surrounding being an athlete and going vegan - but she has proven them all wrong with her scientific stats and performance reports! It has even made her mentally stronger and physically better!

Virat Kohli

One of the most common reasons that people cite as a motivation for switching to veganism is because they want to live longer and healthier lives. Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian cricket team, became a vegetarian in 2011 at the age of 23 after having been raised on authentic Punjabi cuisine and experiencing the full range of assorted non-vegetarian dishes during his childhood. He now adheres strictly to a meat-free diet which helps keep him fit and healthy, though he has openly admitted his love for cheese. 

Virat Kohli started an impressive trend by vowing never to consume animals after his wife Anushka Sharma introduced him to a vegan diet. His game has improved tremendously since his shift, as he says, “I have never felt better. Because of the plant-based diet I am eating, my body is becoming alkaline. My gut health has improved significantly! My bones were deteriorating. My bones are becoming stronger now." 

Sunil Chhetri

The Indian football star Sunil Chhetri believes that his fitness has been enhanced by the choices he made about what he consumes on a daily basis. Since switching to a plant-based diet, the Indian football captain feels his digestion and healing time have improved. With 72 goals in his international career, Chhetri is tied for fourth all-time among active players with the most goals in international football. Maybe all those fresh fruits and vegetables have played a role in prolonging it!

He remembers a time during his early playing days when portion control or restrictions were not a priority. His regimen today is a different story. Chhetri revealed that his interactions with experts over the years have helped control his desire to cheat on the diet. Chhetri says that a combination of a healthy diet and rigorous training have been responsible for his achievements. Chhetri is an avid fan of vegan food and has won several awards for being the best football player in the country. This is probably why his fans are curious about how he gets such accomplished results from his sporty look and performance.

Akshay Kumar

Fitness enthusiast, Bollywood actor, producer, and martial artist Akshay Kumar is recognised for his dedication to fitness and wellness. It's no surprise that he's declared himself a vegan. He loves to perform his own stunts and is a gym badass in general. We've all heard the urban tale about Kumar being an early riser, waking up at 4 a.m. and hustling in the gym while we keep pressing the snooze button.

Even when he's on vacation, Akshay Kumar believes in remaining in shape and is in fantastic form 365 days a year. He doesn't only eat properly and take care of his physique for the sake of a certain movie, role, or character; he does it for himself. It's his way of life. He likes to consume a cuisine that is clean, nutritious, and low in spice, as well as low in salt. Since January 2020, he has been on a vegetarian diet and is striving to be a vegan. Kumar's vegan diet, according to GD India, comprises balanced meals with a variety of alternatives, ranging from plant-based delectable recipes that change according to Kumar's daily schedule and nutritional needs.

Vishwajeet Sanjay Sangle

Vegan Tennis player Vishwajeet Sanjay Sangle from Maharashtra has participated in 90+ tournaments since 2010 and has been on an 11 title-winning streak since 2014. While he has his eye on the ball, it hasn’t limited him from taking strides off-court towards an animal cruelty-free lifestyle full of home-cooked meals. As part of his diet, he places importance on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. We admire the fact that he is so focused and committed to getting the job done well and share our admiration for how he's thinking beyond what's usually considered normal in terms of winning at tennis.

Vishwajeet believes that humanity is rapidly exhausting the planet's scarce resources, the ecosystem is undergoing severe unpredictable changes, making people suffer from various ailments connected to their diets. He remarked, “You won't be able to solve all of these problems by becoming a vegan, but you can be one answer."

In today's world, veganism has gained popularity all over the globe. It is an expensive and hard-to-maintain lifestyle that requires careful dedication. But the time has changed and we have an abundance of vegan-friendly food options cropping up everywhere around the world.