What is Veganism?
The term vegan was coined in 1944 when the foundation of the British Vegan Society was formed. When people choose to follow a vegan diet they abstain from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, but also rejecting the idea that animals are a commodity.
When people choose to accept this philosophy and follow veganism they are known as vegans.
There are varying degrees of veganism, and the distinctions are made as follows: A dietary vegan is someone who abstains from consuming animal products and derived animal substances from their diet. This includes not only the obvious such as meat and fish but also other by products such as eggs and honey.
An ethical vegan can also be known as a lifestyle vegan, and this describes a person who has adopted a vegan diet in addition to extending the vegan philosophy to other areas of their life.
This philosophy rejects animal products because they do not accept that animals are a commodity and that industrial animal farming is damaging to the environment as well as unethical.
Ethical veganism is also sometimes referred to as environmental veganism.
The History Of Veganism
In 1944 in England when the British Vegan Society was formed the term vegan was introduced. It was created by Donald Watson who was a co-founder of the course and its original definition was to mean non-dairy vegetarian. The term vegan also excluded the consumption of eggs.
Veganism has evolved; the British Vegan Society extended their philosophy in 1951 to also encompass life without the exploitation of animals. The American Vegan Society was started in 1960 by Jay Dinshah and added an additional belief that vegans should avoid violence to all living things.
Veganism is practiced by a small number of our population; however the number is steadily growing. In addition to an increased public awareness of the practice of veganism there are a growing number of well recognised individuals who are adopting the practice. These include celebrities and athletes who have turned to veganism and support the practice publicly.
Is Veganism Healthy?
Vegan diets have been studied in many case studies and trials and in general they have been found to include high levels of dietary fibre, high levels of vitamins including vitamin C, folic acid and iron as well as many others. Dieticians and nutritionists have studied the diet and lifestyle and found it to be suitable for all stages of life, however, it has been noted that those who follow a vegan diet tend to lack in vitamin B 12 and a supplement is highly recommended.
Vegans tend to have lower instances of degenerative conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. There tend to be less weight issues with vegans as the diet is lower in calories and contains less long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
A vegan diet and lifestyle is appropriate for many individuals, if you are suffering a health condition you should consider speaking with your health care professional before pursuing veganism. With a little planning and effort it can be a rewarding lifestyle change.