This avid traveller whom you can always see on the road with her four legged best friend driving her jeep and exploring the lesser known terrain, today has become the first vegan Indian woman to scale Mount Everest. Prakriti Varshney has made history. Varshney fought her way to the final climb and overcame all obstacles and reached the summit, holding the Indian flag and her vegan mittens in hand. 

She left left Delhi on the 5th of April and successful completion of her rotations to higher camps she conquered the her final ascent on the 12th of May 2022. Prakriti who is a vegan for over four years now and says “I chose this way of life after understanding the harmful effects of dairy farming on the environment”, in a chit-chat with HT Slurrp talks about her vegan life.

Tell us about your food habits in your growing up years? 

I was a vegetarian all my life, even when people in my family would eat eggs, I never had. Infact, I didn’t eat onions too till last year. My mum used to make separate food for me which used to be without onion. Perhaps, I loved diary products, especially Paneer and milk. My favourite food used to be made of paneer. But I turned a vegan overnight, and there is no going back now. 

Since when you changed your food habits to Veganism and how challenging was it for you?

I chose to be a Vegan because I was aghast by what we were doing to the animals. I have been living in Himachal and I got to know some people leave the male calf astray because it doesn't reap many benefits and is a burden to them. This has so many wrongs. You're separating a mother and child, you're only looking for your monetary benefits, and there's an insurmountable lack of compassion. On top of that, dairy farming is one major contributor to climate change/global warming. Plus, according to stats, a cow consumes about 42 litres of water in a day. After reading and learning more about Veganism, I decided to adopt it. It has been over 4 years now, ever since I have chosen my meal judiciously, keeping the protein requirements of an athletic body in mind. My health has just improved through this and I'm happy to have made the change. 

Being a North Indian, I always loved dal chawal roti sabji, and that’s my preference food too. And I eat a lot of green leafy vegetables too.

Tell us about what preps you did for the climb primarily around food habits and food intake

I planned to eat good amount of protein everyday as I was training from last 5 months. I used to take protein from dal, chickpeas, beans etc and a lot of oils like olive, almond, coconut.

I used to take plant proteins whenever my training used to be for more than 4 hours a day.

The most common question- Where do you get your protein?

On everyday basis, dals, chickpea, kidney beans are really good sources of protein.

Do you think Indians or India is ready for this next big shift to vegan food?

Yes, we definitely need to. I think we as largest milk producers as well as one of the biggest beef exporters, we must change for good and less cruel world.

What are few of your favourite in road munchies?

Sweet corns and momos