Veganism in a Nutshell
Mon, April 19, 2021

Veganism in a Nutshell

Veganism has grown in popularity over the years. It’s a discipline adhered to by those who don’t eat anything that came from animals, be they meat, eggs, and cheese. They also don’t eat whey and gelatin / Photo by: Svetlana Kolpakova via 123RF

 

Veganism has grown in popularity over the years. It’s a discipline adhered to by those who don’t eat anything that came from animals, be they meat, eggs, and cheese. They also don’t eat whey and gelatin. Additionally, they don’t use anything that comes from any animal or includes animal parts, which includes leather, wool, pearls, ivory, and many more or those that involved animal testing during the development of the product.

Since vegans have grown in number, there are now more vegan-friendly options, restaurants for dining, and even vegan burgers for those who still need their version of a meat fix. Veganism has taken the spotlight, and many are becoming new adherents.

 

World Vegan Day and the Vegan Society

Veganism, though, is not a new thing. In fact, it dates as far back as more 2,000 years, as early as 500 BCE when Greek philosopher Pythagoras promoted the idealism of showing benevolence among all living species. From this followed the vegetarian diet. During this time, Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, was discussing the principles of vegetarian diets to his followers. Several religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism advocated vegetarianism and believed that humans should not inflict pain on other animals. It was during 1806 CE that the earliest forms of veganism started to take shape. Dr. William and Percy Bysshe were among the first to publicly object to eating eggs and dairy due to the ethics behind the particular selection of food. 

The first modern-day vegans began when Donald Watson, an English animal rights advocate, called a meeting in November 1944 with five other non-dairy vegetarians to discuss their dairy vegetarian diet and lifestyles. Despite many holding similar views, it was only this group of six people who actively created a new movement. They became the six pioneers and founders of the Vegan Society. The society claimed that the vegan lifestyle saved lives because, during that time, tuberculosis was found in 40% of Britain’s dairy cows.

Veganism, though, is not a new thing. In fact, it dates as far back as more 2,000 years, as early as 500 BCE when Greek philosopher Pythagoras promoted the idealism of showing benevolence among all living species / Photo by: Marinos Karafyllidis via 123RF

 

The concept and principles of the diet was later clarified and refined in 1949, from “the principle of the emancipation of animals from exploitation by man” to an objective “to seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man.” 

The group developed the word that described non-dairy vegetarians, which included the rejection of words such as “dairyban,” “vitan,” and “benevore.” The word “vegan,” coined by Watson, eventually became the name of what would become more than just a dietary practice but a movement and eventually a lifestyle. The term was coined from the first and last two letters in the word “vegetarian.” The Vegan Society registered as a charity in 1964 and became a limited company in 1979.

Today, November 1 is widely celebrated as World Vegan Day, established in 1994 as the day that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vegan Society and their push for veganism. Watson died at the age of 95 in 2005. Today, millions self identify as vegans including famous celebrities and athletes such as Serena Williams, Natalie Portman, Liam Hemsworth, and Joaquin Phoenix to name a few.

Benefits by the Numbers

A vegan diet includes plant foods, the mainstay of all vegetarian diets such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and soy. The strictest form of all vegetarian diets, veganism avoids all meat and animal products such as poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, gelatin, butter, and honey. It extends far beyond diet, though, and also includes every choice in items, clothing, and accessories—everything we use on a daily basis. According to the Vegan Society, if the world went vegan, it could save eight million human lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, lead to healthcare-related savings, and avoid climate damages costs by $1.5 trillion. Indeed, meat production accounts for as much as 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation for pasture land destroys 6.7 million acres of tropical forest per year.

Interest in veganism has increased seven-fold in the past five years, with four times more interest searches than vegetables and gluten-free, as shared from Google trends. Veganism is no longer a seemingly impossible task, with many now following the belief, and enterprises providing options for vegans. Also, many now show concern for all animals and even the situation of the environment. Based on data by Statista, an online portal for statistics, cities with the most vegan options in the world include Dublin at 21.2%, Phuket at 20.1%, Amsterdam at 19.8%, London at 19%, Venice at 18.6%, Florence at 18.4%, Orlando at 17.3%, Athens at 17.2%, New York at 16.4%, and Johannesburg at 15.5%. 

A vegan diet includes plant foods, the mainstay of all vegetarian diets such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and soy. The strictest form of all vegetarian diets, veganism avoids all meat and animal products such as poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, gelatin, butter, and honey / Photo by: Anna Pustynnikova via 123RF

 

Veganism is not merely just a diet plan but an ideology and a choice. Vegans are focused on healthy eating, and research shows that plant-based diets are associated with reduced risk for heart disease, certain cancers, and Type 2 diabetes. Many people believe that it is not possible to have a healthy diet with veganism but it can actually be a healthy eating pattern for almost anyone as long as the vegan eater must ensure that they are meeting all their macronutrient needs such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Lifestyle alone is not limited to what people consume and eat, but can also be received in other forms such as sunlight and proper exercise.