Vegan Lifestyle - A Detailed Guide on Veganism
The History of Veganism
Every first of November marks World Vegan Day. We use this day to celebrate the hordes of people who don’t eat animal products such as meat, eggs or honey. They also don’t use anything that comes from animals or is associated with animal cruelty. Vegans also don’t use clothing or accessories made from animals. This means they don’t use leather shoes or woollen sweaters. The world first celebrated Vegan day in the year 1994 which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Vegan Society.
For those who don’t know, veganism can be best described as the superlative form of vegetarianism. The term was first introduced in the year 1944 to describe people who avoided all forms of meat. The term can be traced back to ancient Indian and eastern Mediterranean dialect. Before veganism caught on, people used vegetarianism which was first coined by Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos in 500 BCE. The philosopher was famous for his math theorem about right triangles. He was an active advocate for all species to coexist including both animals and humans. Apart from him, supporters and followers of Buddhism and Hinduism also advocated vegetarianism. These two sects follow a set of beliefs that guide them to coexist with animals without inflicting pain on animals.
Although veganism was popular in the Asian countries, the lifestyle never picked up in the west. Americans would every once in a while try out veganism in order to avoid health scares or during religious revivals. In the early 1730’s, a religious sect known as the Ephrata Cloister advocated for veganism in Pennsylvania. The sect also advocated for celibacy. Not long after, philosopher Jeremy Bentham advocated for animal rights on the basis that animal suffering was just as serious as human suffering. He likened his ideology to human superiority to racism.
Fast forward to 1847 and the first vegetarian society was established in England. This prompted Rev. Sylvester Graham to co-found the American Vegetarian Society. The American was a Presbyterian minister who instructed his followers (Grahamites), to live a virtuous life through veganism, celibacy and regular bathing. In late 1944, Donald Watson was not pleased with the fact that vegetarians ate dairy products and eggs. He coined the term “vegan,” which was used to describe people who completely avoided animal products. He used the Tuberculosis outbreak that was caused by dairy cows in Britain as a launching point for his new philosophy. He encouraged his followers to stick to the vegan lifestyle which would protect them from contaminated and disease-tainted food. He went on further to explain to people how they should pronounce the word vegan. Watson died in 2005 at the age of 95.
Vegans who stay true to the vegan ways completely avoid using animal products as food or even clothing. This has prompted a few individuals to stray from their belief. Healthwise, vegans who avoid animal products lack vitamin B12. This vitamin can only be found in animal products but the rise of vegan supplements such as those offered by Body by nature. These vegans may also opt to eat fortified food to get this vitamin. In America, those who identify as vegetarians, don’t suffer from the stigma by which the lifestyle choice came to be. It is accepted as a healthy choice. It is easy to come across restaurants that offer vegetarian options. This, however, doesn't apply to vegans. Veganism is still associated with animal-rights movements which haven't been fully accepted by the confines of social standards.
Veganism in the modern era
As we have already established being a vegetarian means that you can eat a wide range of foods apart from animal meat and fish. You can feed on fruits, vegetables and animal products like cheese. This lifestyle is socially accepted and labelled a healthy choice. Veganism, on the other hand, is a lifestyle that discourages the killing of animals and fish. This lifestyle choice also means that you have to avoid all animal products and extracts like lard and fat. Vegans have to carefully check the ingredients of products they are buying. For example, vegans can’t buy gelatine which is made from connective tissues and bones of animals. Gelatin is used as cohesive agents in candy and some desserts. Vegans also have to avoid some wines which use fish in the oenology process. Vegans also have to avoid cheese that is made from rennet (this is sourced from young calves).
Being a vegan seems tiresome and irritating but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In the modern and developed countries veganism has been on the rise. Millennials are of the mindset that the world has to reduce its consumption of animals and their products. This has led to an increase of people who associate as vegan. Modern trends such as blogs and vlogs have proliferated the rise of vegans.
Vegan products are also widely available and in a wide variety in both physical and online stores. The modern era is well structured to support people who associate as vegans. The demand for vegan products has also made it easier to be a vegan now as businesses go out of their way to meet this demand.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for vegans. They do endure a fair share of challenges. One such challenge is mealtimes. Currently, society puts an unnecessary focus on food. When you attend a social gathering, eating food is a vital part of the celebrations. For vegans, this part is sometimes a letdown as most people won't incur the extra cost of making sure that the menu is vegan-friendly. This makes it rather challenging and wanting for vegans to attend such events. It isn’t humane and comfortable for vegans to attend celebrations that serve animal foods.
Sooner or later even holdouts will need to accept that veganism is an unavoidable step on the path to an ethical and authentic life. The unwelcome experiences that society places on vegans will seem trivial compared to the significant changes veganism brings to the quality of life. The consumption of animals and their products is a large contributor to the extinction of these creatures. When people think of veganism through this perspective, veganism takes a different look from what many people believe it to be.
Another challenge vegans face today is interacting with people who feel challenged by an individual’s commitment to veganism. Regular interactions are sure to turn heated and uncomfortable to endure. Hopefully, as the popularity of veganism grows, people will take an open-minded approach and try to understand what it’s all about. They are getting educated on veganism. This enables them to understand and see that veganism isn’t all about food. Rather it’s about the commitment to nonviolence living and one shouldn’t be ridiculed for adopting a lifestyle that is not only good for themselves but for humanity in general.
People’s perspective of veganism is that it’s a lifestyle that only needs you to give up things. Giving up the sensational and pleasurable taste of your favourite food, giving up fashionable clothing pieces or furniture, giving up the chance to experience some social experiences and ultimately some friendships. These all make it sound like being a vegan is hard but once you buy into the belief, you will understand that you were meant to lose a few things and people along the way to better yourself.
It is challenging being a rookie vegan. The learning curve is challenging while forming new habits is never easy. This will pass by with timetime. A consolation for adopting this lifestyle is that every time you settle for a vegan alternative in place of animal products and foods, we save animals for trivial things such as comfort, taste and habits.
As the vegan collective keeps on growing, the more we reap rewards. Vegans get more delicious and abundant vegan foods as businesses and farmers alike aim to satisfy our needs and tasting. There is a rise of fashion designers that believe in the vegan lifestyle. This makes it easier to get access to fashionable animal-free clothing. The more vegans there are, the easier it will be for vegan centred markets to pop up across the globe.
Over time, it gets easier being vegan. People get more comfortable and our old habits seem more archaic and undesirable. Maintaining the vegan lifestyle becomes an exigent that moulds the way we perceive what is right and wrong. As time passes, we realize it's not that our veganism has become second nature to us, but that veganism is, in fact, our real nature.
What are the main reasons people go vegan?
There are many reasons why people may opt to adopt the vegan lifestyle. It may be due to their interests, life experiences or curiosity. One common factor all these vegans will tell you is that it was a very personal decision. No one can force you to turn into a vegan which means all generalizations regarding vegans will never answer the question why. People will always assume that they can place a finger on exactly what turned you into a vegan and how exactly you are supposed to behave as a vegan. Also, you won't miss all the stereotypes about vegans but ultimately it's down to whatever personal reason one chose to adopt this lifestyle no matter how challenging it may have seemed at the time. All in all, there are numerous reasons why people decide to adopt the vegan lifestyle. The common ones include:
Millennials are well informed and they love animals. Access to information has opened their eyes to the various animal endangering practices we put animals through in order to get food or certain products. They think these practices are cruel and should be stopped. Adopting the vegan lifestyle is a form of protest against such practices. This is why it isn’t a stretch for opposers of the vegan lifestyle to argue that veganism is a way to mask animal rights movements. This couldn’t be further from the truth as vegans are just concerned about animals and are looking for avenues that will allow us to co-exist without harming or killing these animals.
According to the UN, farmers who have livestock account for about fifteen per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. This translates to roughly the same amount of emissions from the different modes of transport. Simply put, farming animals may be a source of food for the farmers but it destroying the environment for the rest of us.
A majority of vegan converts believe that they are healthier after dropping animal products. While science is yet to prove this, it is notable that vegans do suffer from lack of a few vital vitamins and minerals that are got from animal food and products. This is however rectifiable as there are vegan supplements that offer these vitamins and minerals.
Healthy tips that will make it easy to adopt a vegan diet
Any doctor on the planet will tell you that eating less meat and reinforcing the vegetable portion of your plat is healthy. This is what prompts most people to adopt the vegan lifestyle to try and improve their health and maybe lose a few extra pounds. Eating a vegan diet can be a healthy way to eat when your meals are full of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. You need a well-planned vegan diet to make sure you don’t miss out on essential nutrients or end up eating only processed vegan foods. Be sure to also add vegan supplements by Body by Nature to this wholesome diet. They will nourish your body with minerals and vitamins that can only be found in animal foods and products. The following tips will make adopting a vegan diet to be easy and healthy.
Focus your diet on vegetables
When people turn vegan, they tend to focus on what they can't eat rather than what they can. Forget the meats and make veggies the stars of your meal. These plant-based foods will nourish your body with vitamins such as A and K and minerals such as iron and potassium. Vegetables also make it easier to keep our calories intake in check as they are rich in fibre which makes us feel full.
Eat a wide range of foods
As discussed above, a vegan diet falls short on some vitamins and nutrients. Ensure that you eat a balanced diet to compensate on what you are missing. Different foods have different nutritional content so don't limit your vegetable intake to salads only. Also, make sure that you include fruits to your diet.
Use dietary supplements
Adopting a vegan diet can be lethargic and some vegans will have difficulties eating enough foods to meet their daily vitamin and mineral requirements. All this can be rectified by using vegan dietary supplements offered by Body by nature. They will help nourish your body with:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Iron and iodine
- Calcium and zinc.
Supplements rich in iron should only be taken when there is a deficiency of the mineral. Ingesting too much iron from supplements can lead to health problems such as heart failure.