Veganism has made a popular appearance over recent years.
Many bodybuilders, athletes, celebrities, and people from all walks of life have adopted this vegan lifestyle.
More and more brands have been making it easier for consumers to follow this new vegan diet by labeling food products clearly or selling vegan alternatives of animal-based foods.
Even Cosmetic and Wellness brands have been creating vegan cruelty-free makeup, hair products, and more.
If you’re still unsure of what veganism is, I’ll give a brief rundown of this lifestyle.
What is Veganism?
The word vegan was first used by Donald Watson in 1944 when he co-founded a non-dairy vegetarian society. Nowadays, vegetarians and vegetarian diets are completely different. Veganism has really evolved into its own powerhouse of a dietary option.
“Veganism” is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.
So, simply put, veganism is a lifestyle that avoids animal products.
They choose not to consume any products derived wholly from animals, which includes meat, eggs, and dairy.
On the other hand, a vegetarian diet will still allow its participants to eat foods that contain dairy and eggs. Many vegetarians are hoping to fully switch to vegan, but have a hard time kicking the dairy.
Some vegans even go a step further and choose not to buy products that have been tested on animals, such as cosmetics and skincare.
So, What is a Vegan?
Vegan refers to a person that avoids all animal products by living and following a diet that focuses mostly on plant-based foods.
In dietary terms, vegans can eat most foods just like anyone else, but they may not always be plant-based. Vegan diets follow something close to a vegetarian diet. Like we said above, a vegan doesn’t eat any meat, fish, eggs, honey (sometimes), or dairy.
If you are a beginner to the vegan life, definitely immerse yourself into the vegan society and build a network of plant-based buddies! Other friends that follow vegan diets will surely make the process easier!
Why go vegan?
People choose to go vegan for more than one reason and there’s no right or wrong answer. Read the following to sift through the different reasons people decide to change their diet.
Health is the number one reason people go vegan. More and more people are turning to veganism for their own personal health or to help prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
A vegan, or plant-based diet has been linked to a lowered risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
It has also been shown to help prevent and reverse certain diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
This diet helps boost mood and energy which is why it has become popular among athletes.
Many vegans report improved energy and focus after adjusting to the new diet!
Lastly, studies have shown that being vegan lowers body weight and body mass index. So some might choose this diet to help them lose weight.
*This is not an attempt to provide medical advice*
Ethical vegans choose to not eat meat due to the act of killing itself.
It’s because they don’t want to see an animal suffer or die for their own personal benefit.
Most people think animals on farms are treated ethically and humanely, but that is often untrue.
Animal abuse on these farms has been a big problem in recent years.
Farmer’s stuff chickens into tiny cages and force them to lay eggs until they’re literally spent.
Farmers cut cows’ horns and tails off with no anesthesia or painkillers, which is seen as cruel by animal rights activists.
The farming industry says these practices are necessary to produce a cheaper product, but for an animal activist, it’s not worth the cost of an animal’s life.
Before I committed to a vegan diet, I never had a problem with the way animals were treated. Honestly, I knew nothing about it. Why would I think there was anything wrong with my cute leather jacket? After embracing the vegan society, my mindset completely changed. I realized animals are living beings and they are not for human use. Sadly, we fund companies that treat animals like they’re specifically made for our consumption. Animal exploitation is a huge problem in our world!
Did you know that 72 billion land animals and over 1.2 trillion aquatic animals are killed for human consumption around the world every year, yet there are only 7.9 Billion people in the whole world?
Seems a little unnecessary doesn’t it?
Many people are starting to realize that animal agriculture is harmful to the environment.
This includes water pollution, land degradation, and air pollution.
Read the following which will go more in-depth
- Water pollution
The livestock sector is the largest source of water pollution.
Research shows that animal agriculture pollutes our waterways more than all other human activities combined.
This means that not only is it polluting the soil and air, but it’s polluting our water as well!
- Land degradation
Animal deforestation and land degradation are occurring throughout the world at an alarming rate.
Animal agriculture contributes to nearly 91 percent of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
The production of animal feed, grazing land for livestock, and growing crops for consumption are all factors that contribute to deforestation.
- Air pollution
Factory farming is leading to increased air pollution throughout the world.
Particulate matter from factory farm emissions is having a severe impact on the environment and public health.
These fine particles in the air can lead to respiratory issues and cardiovascular disease.
This puts our entire world at higher risk! We all breathe the same air!
Types of vegans
There are different diets you can follow as a vegan. Here are a few examples:
Junk-food vegans are people who go vegan but don’t pay much attention to their diets. They eat a lot of processed foods containing sodium, soy, and wheat. These people won’t get many nutrients from their food or enough protein, which can be dangerous over time.
- Whole-food vegans
Whole food vegans, on the other hand, eat a nutrient-rich diet that focuses more on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This group of vegans takes more time to plan out their meals and will often use vegan cookbooks to help them. This way of eating is best if you’re looking for the most amount of nutrients.
- Raw-food vegans
Raw-food vegans eat uncooked foods, avoiding foods that have been cooked above 46 degrees Celsius. The idea behind this diet is to maintain the enzymes in the food. Preserving as many enzymes in the food will help you absorb more nutrients, decrease cravings, and improve digestion.
This diet also helps cut down on food waste because it reduces spoilage. This group of vegans may not take in enough calcium or B12. Make sure you take supplements to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.
- Dietary vegans
Dietary vegans eat a plant-based diet that avoids animal-derived products in their diets but still may continue to use them in other products such as cosmetics, clothing, or shoes.
Foods vegans avoid
Vegans avoid all animal foods and by-products. These include
- Gelatin/gelato, which is made using animal bones, tendons, skin, or organs.
Animal-derived ingredients may be found in some beer, wine, and candies, they will be labeled as albumin, isinglass, shellac, L-cysteine, or rennet.
Foods vegans eat
A majority of people think that many vegans just eat lettuce and tomato which is a big misconception because there is a wide variety of options that avoid animal products.
You may already be eating many foods that fall into that category. Obviously, nuts and seeds are vegan, but did you know most popular breakfast cereals are vegan? Even Oreos and Sour Patch Kids are vegan! Most of the time, beer and french fries are vegan too! Living vegan is easy as vegan pie! A person on a vegan diet can eat a lot more than nuts, vegetables, beans, and fruits. Yes, you can eat vegan too!
Most meals are also already vegan or can be easily adjusted.
Here is a list of meals that can be easily adjusted:
Adjustments can be made by replacing any ingredients that come from animals with animal-free alternatives.
Some meat alternatives are:
- Pea protein
Some cheese alternatives are:
Some milk alternatives are:
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Hemp milk
- Coconut milk
- Cashew Milk
- Soy Milk
With more individuals adopting vegan lifestyles for personal health or animal welfare, it is important to understand what veganism means and how to fuel your body on a vegan diet.
If you are interested in vegan living, start by eating one hot meal and one raw meal per day for a week. This way it won’t feel like such a shock to your system. Also, take supplements to ensure your body gets enough calcium, iron, and B-12. These supplements are especially important for vegan kids!
We hope this blog post has given you a better understanding of the diet itself, which foods are permitted on a vegan diet (and why), as well as the benefits of following such an eating plan. For those who may be looking for additional resources about becoming vegan but aren’t sure where to start, check out our next blog post (The Vegan diet – A Full Beginner’s guide) which covers the process of going vegan in a few easy steps.
We hope you found this blog post informative and encourage you to continue using our website for more helpful information about the plant-based eating movement. Thanks!