What is a Vegan?

The vegan lifestyle has grown in popularity and importance in the 21st century. It’s a lifestyle that promotes healthy and low impact living as well as animal welfare and environmental benefits. There are now over 3 million vegans living in the US and the UK alone and with celebrities like Ellie Goulding and Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage promoting the lifestyle, it’s a number that’s growing all the time. If you are considering becoming a vegan or simply want to know more about what it means to be one, this article should help you understand what it means to be a vegan.

The Vegan Diet Plan

The concept of a vegan diet plan was originally prompted in 1944 by the Vegan Society and was later defined in 1949 by Leslie J Cross as the “principle of the emancipation of animals from exploitation by man”. While this principle is core not only to a vegan’s dietary requirements but to their lifestyle in general, it is a vegan’s diet that is the defining characteristic of the lifestyle.

A vegan diet plan is entirely plant-based and eschews all foods that are derived from an animal. Whether this stems from wanting to eat more healthily or for moral reasons concerning animal rights; it’s becoming increasingly popular and arguably essential in modern civilisation.

So, what does a vegan eat? Much more than non-vegans or vegetarians generally think. As long as thefood is entirely plant based and has not been prepared in anyway with animal products, the choices are endless. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, pulses, grains, and seeds can be combined and concocted into anything from curry to pizzas, pies to cheesecake, and almost any other food you care to think of.

Modern soy based meat substitutes are ideal for replacing meat in meals and oils and milk derived from nuts and vegetables mean that vegans are eating virtually identical dishes to everyone else.With the internet providing a plethora of recipes and food ideas suited to the vegan diet plan and food establishments becoming increasingly aware of and keen to appeal vegan’s eating habits, adopting veganism as a lifestyle has never been easier or delicious.

The health benefits of a vegan diet plan are also numerous. Not only can it reduce your cholesterol level, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease, it can also increase your energy levels, weight loss, and even your life expectancy. A healthier lifestyle is becoming an increasing priority for many people and adhering to a vegan diet is asimple and ethical way to achieve this aim.

Animal Welfare

Possibly the main motivation of a vegan is to free themselves from the association of any kind of exploitation of animals. The industrialisation of animal farming has led to many cruel and exploitative methods being employed to produce meat and dairy products en masse by farmers around the world.  There are plenty of techniques used to make farming animals more efficient that most people would be disgusted and repulsed by, and yet by purchasing and consuming the products yielded by these practices, people sustain demand for these techniques to continue.

A vegan not only refuses to consume any animal products but also not to purchase or wear any products that could be considered exploitative of another animal. This includes not wearing leather or wool as well as refusing to partake in establishments that use animals for entertainment such as zoos or circuses.

If you are someone who believes that an animal is a living, breathing, sentient being with as much of a right to freedom and life as yourself, then veganism is the perfect way to ease your conscience and help ensure the wellbeing of animals around the world.

Planetary Health

Not only is veganism great for your own health but it is fast becoming a lifestyle that is vital for preserving our planet’s health too.

As the human population continues grow exponentially, we are currently struggling to meet the world’s food demands and are becoming increasingly exploitative of the Earth’s land and resources to achieve this. Meat production requires twice as much farmland to produce as much food as growing crops for human consumption. This leading to worrying levels of deforestation around the world as more space is created for animals to graze and for their food to be grown, whereas it would twice as efficient to use that land to grow food for direct human consumption.

The vast number of animals required to meet demand for meat and dairy products are also constantly digesting their own food and are producing methane emissions as a result. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide and is a direct contributor to climate change, which has increased dramatically in the 21st century and will lead to devastating effects on the habitability of the planet for humans, animals and plants alike.

Vegans reduce the commercial demand for products derived from cattle and therefore can only be considered as essential for protecting our planetary health and offers a brighter future for the world’s population.

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