Vegan: Why and what is it?

Vegan

Many of us know someone who is a vegan or have seen some vegan dishes or products when we are outside. Veganism is a rising trend and it is definitely one that is not going away anytime time soon. In fact, it seems like veganism is here to stay and there are good reasons too. For many people being vegan is more than just a diet, but it is a lifestyle and ideology that people live by.

For those of you that don’t know what vegan is, or is curious to know more about veganism, this is the perfect article for you. If you are interested in becoming vegan, this article will give the background information you need and some things you should know about being vegan.

What is Vegan?

So what is vegan? What does vegan mean?
Vegan is an individual that chooses to have a full plant based diet, meaning that they do not consume any meat or animal products, such dairy (milk, yogurt, butter), eggs or anything that is animal sourced. At the same time, vegan often refers to products that do not contain any animal byproducts or ingredients. In fact, many snacks, food products, and restaurants would have a vegan label to help their customers feel welcome and have choices. So in a way, vegan has developed into an all round word, not only as a community, but as a signifier for products.

Vegan in non-food products

As mentioned above, vegan is often used as a label for products that do not contain animal byproducts. This concept does not only apply to vegan food, nowadays there are vegan leather, vegan makeup, vegan skincare, and more. Vegan products are just like vegan food, they do not include any animal in them, they are not made with animal derived ingredients too. For example, vegan leather is just another way to say it, not real leather from animals, but made through the synthetic fabric. Vegan makeup and skincare mean the ingredients do not include carmine (bug) or bee waxes and so on. With these vegan products, vegans are allowed to live a full rounded vegan lifestyle. Thus, being vegan is more than just eating vegetables but it is a way of life for many people.

When did Veganism begin?

The idea of veganism has been around for a long time, in fact, it is hard to say who was the first person to start having such a diet. However, the vegan was invented back in 1944 by Donald Watson, who later became the founder of the Vegan Society. According to Donald Watson, the word vegan is the beginning and end of vegetarian, both figuratively and literally.

What do Vegans eat?

Vegan Sushi are great options!
You must be wondering what vegans eat? Are plant based diets enough? Is it a well-balanced diet? The answers are vegan diet can be well balanced and depending on the individual plant based diet is more than enough. And you will be surprised by the options that vegans have for food. First of all, all the fruits and vegetables are on the table. Then there are beans and legumes. If you like tofu or any soy products, you are in luck because there’s going to be a lot of tofu products. Pasta excluding fresh pasta are vegan. Rice and rice noodles are also vegan! Bread and grains that are made without eggs and use plant derived milk are also great choices. Last but not least, there are meat substitutes. This is a great option for those that have a hard time leaving meat, meat substitutes might be the one.
Just like any diet, vegan, or not, it is important to maintain a balanced diet. In addition, it is good to know that for some people a vegan diet might not work for them for health reasons, so it is best to consult your physician before you start your vegan diet.

Being nutritious with vegan diet

Having a balanced diet is very important, especially for vegans. Since they are not eating meat, they have to replace their protein intake with beans and tofu. Fats from avocados and nuts. But every now and then it is recommended that some Vegans intake some vitamins just in case and for a more balanced diet.

Vegan vs. Vegetarian

For some of you, you must be wondering, what is the difference between vegans and vegetarians. The main difference is that vegetarians consume eggs, dairy products, and other animal derived products. They just don’t eat meat. However, for vegans, all of the aboves are not part of their diet.

Why Choose to be Vegan?

Animals is a big reason for being vegan
There are many reasons to be vegan. For many people, it is a mixture of the following: Ethical, Environmental, and Health reasons.
Ethical reasons mean the actions of killing animals or hurting them lead the people to become vegan.
The environmental reason is one of the biggest reasons people are becoming vegan recently. It is said that animal husbandry is a big cause of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, in order to raise the animals a lot of resources are needed, crops, water, and land, which causes deforestation, water wastage, and so on. Many people are choosing to be vegan to help reduce the carbon footprint.
Last but not the least, health reasons are another big cause for veganism. “Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.”
For many people going vegan made them have a healthier diet with more greens.

Bon Appetit!

For those of you that are not vegans, but now are curious. Definitely try out some vegan dishes. You will be surprised, and if you want to contribute to any cause but don’t think you can quit entirely, just reduce the amount of meat you eat overall. Adding more vegetables and maybe even some vegan options to replace the meat, by reducing the amount of meat you are intaking can make a big difference. If you are vegan, just keep on going!

Stay peeled for more exciting contents about veganism!



Resources:
“Why Go Vegan?” The Vegan Society. Web. 05 Nov. 2020.
               
Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!