Veganism is a way of life that excludes all forms of exploitation towards animals. Meaning, vegans do not consume, purchase, or contribute to the suffering of animals for the purposes of food, fashion, and entertainment. Vegans do not eat meat, chicken, turkey, fish, honey, lanolin, dairy, eggs, or anything that comes from an animal. We also do not purchase products such as wool, fur, silk, leather or suede. As you may think that some of these products can be “humane” vegans believe that NO animal should be used as commodities.
“Veganism” is a term coined by Donald Watson in 1994, when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England. The term first meant “non–dairy vegetarians” but was later defined as “people living a life that excludes the exploitation of animals.” Vegetarianism was a significant movement in 19th century England and the United States.
Although veganism is a term that has been recognized recently, the practice can be dated back to Pythagoras in the 6th century BCE Greece. Other well-known thought leaders joined the movement in protest to inequality. Their argument for abstaining from animal products was health, the transmigration of souls, animal welfare and the view that if humans can have justice, so can animals. Click the link to discover the most revolutionary minds that were vegan.
Today, veganism is taking the world by storm. Thanks to social media, people have been sharing this wonderful, healthy lifestyle that abstains from the abuse of sentient beings.
One may think that there is little to no variety in a vegan diet. However, there is more diversity in plant foods than in animal foods. Think about your local supermarket. The produce isle is the largest isle in the store. Along with a large variety of fruits and vegetables, there is much diversity in herbs, spices, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The way to get this diversity is simply by learning how to mix ingredients together and experiment! Check out the article “Food History: The Epidemic of Chronic Illness” for more information on how food has evolved into the norm of todays society.
As mentioned above, vegans avoid any products that exploit animals for any purpose. This goes from leather shoes to cashmere sweaters. Along with apparel, several bathroom items and beauty products also make the DO NOT PURCHASE list. Yes, even your drugstore toothpaste contains animal products. While all this information may seem overwhelming and there is a whole other world full of cruelty-free, vegan apparel and products, you just have to look. Even your local drug store carries some of these products.
Almost all medicine is tested on animals and also contains products derived from animals. However, if a product has to be tested on an animal to ensure safe use, it’s probably not good for you anyways. The pharmaceutical industry is the second largest industry in the world, right after food. Coincidence? There is no money in healthy people.
The best way to take care of yourself is to use natural remedies. First off, by merely going vegan, you will feel miles healthier and get sick much less. A plant-based diet is proven to stop, reverse, cure and prevent most illnesses in modern-day society.
A vast amount of vegetation is being torn down to be replaced with animal agriculture. 91% of the Amazonian deforestation stems from cattle ranching, and this isn’t the only rainforest being violated! Along with this human-made disaster, oceans are also being polluted by tons of animal waste being dumped into the ocean. The Gulf of Mexico is a perfect example of how much marine life has disappeared due to the amount of toxic waste being poured out of California’s factory farms.
The ocean is crucial for our survival, though it’s not always apparent, and is responsible for 3/4ths of the oxygen we breathe. Other than this, meat has the most significant water footprint; “According to a UC Davis study, it takes just 441 gallons of water to produce one pound of boneless beef—or about 110 gallons for a quarter-pound hamburger.”, A resource we are slowly running out of. These are only a few examples leading to our extinction. If the planet is something you care about, switching to a vegan lifestyle will create the most environmental impact.
Animal Welfare is defined as protecting an animals mental and physical well being. Whether its rescuing animals from zoos, laboratories or farms, veganism can aid in ending the mistreatment of billions of animals all over the world. This can be done by simply not participating in these industries. As I mentioned, vegans don’t participate in the explosion of animals through any industry, even if it means going to a third party. By not giving money to zoos, aquariums, non-cruelty-free brands, the meat and dairy industries, etc., one is voting against their practices, causing them to reduce their production. Veganism can help stop industries from exploiting, slaughtering, and abusing these innocent beings.
Yes, all of this information can be overwhelming. You just need to keep in mind; veganism does not mean you have to be perfect. It merely means you do the best you can. So if you mess up, don’t freak out. Learn from your mistakes and keep going. You will mess up once in a while. We are only human. Living a vegan lifestyle is a continuous journey. Each day, week, month, year, you will see positive change flourishing.