The introduction to veganism has been accidental for many people. Surprisingly for a majority of people, using the term ‘vegan’ loosely for ‘vegetarian’ had made this introduction happen.
What is Veganism?
Veganism is the practice of following a vegan diet that excludes animal meat and certain dairy and plant-based foods. A person who practices veganism is called a vegan.
Veganism is not just about following a vegan a diet, but it is a lifestyle change. Ever since its introduction in the year 1944 by Donald Watson, the movement has evolved from a mere dietary change to a lifestyle change in the year 2010. The Vegan Society was founded in England in 1944, and back then the term vegan meant ‘non-dairy vegetarian’. Post-1951, the society defined the term vegan as ‘the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.’
Although the vegan movement has been in existence since over a half century, it gained momentum in the year 2010 when environmentalists vowed to bring in a lifestyle change to save the planet from environmental disasters caused due to human negligence.
The path-breaking event occurred in the vegan movement when in 2010 The European Parliament defined the term vegan and asked the food industry to mark the food labels as vegan just like vegetarian and non-vegetarian labelling on the food packaging.
The movement isn’t restricted to any political boundary. Today, vegan movement is practiced in more than 100 countries across the world by people who are dedicated to the environmental cause and propagate sustainable living.
There are different vegan philosophies practiced by the vegans across the globe:
- Ethical veganism:The vegans who follow a vegan diet are usually the followers of ethical veganism philosophy. This philosophy propagates changes in dietary habits. Ethical vegans do not consume any dairy products like milk, cheese, eggs including honey.
- Environmental veganism:This philosophy emphasises the environmental impact created by the vegan movement. This philosophy focuses on adopting a completely vegan lifestyle than just dietary changes. Vegans who follow this philosophy avoid using products made by killing animals.
- Plant-based veganism:Vegans who follow this philosophy live off on only plant-based foods produced from the ground.
- Raw veganism:The followers of this philosophy do not consume food cooked above 48 degree Celsius. They believe that foods cooked above this temperature lose its essential nutrients and enzymes.
Difference between Vegetarian and Vegan
Vegetarian and vegan have been loosely used for each other by the ignorant section of the society. This inter-changeability of these terms dates back to the mid-2000s when the vegan movement was gaining momentum across the globe but with little to no awareness amongst the masses. Vegetarians have often argued about the difference between these two dietary choices and to their surprise, it is enormous!
Vegetarian is a person who excludes animal meat from their dietary choices. They go on to consume dairy products and eggs too at times whereas; a vegan completely abstains from these foods. A vegan is a person who consumes only plant-based foods and completely avoids dairy products as well.
What does a vegan diet comprise of?
The non-vegan people are often left baffled about what do the vegans consume. To their astonishment, the vegan diet offers a lavish spread of food choices which include:
- Soy:Soy is the staple food in the vegan diet. There is a massive variety of products made out of soy that the vegans can consume.
- Plant-based milk:The dairy milk is substituted with soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk and milk obtained from various grains like rice and oats.
- Grains, nuts, and seeds:Vegans can consume all kinds of grains, nuts and seeds. This provides them with a scope to experiment with their food.
- Fruits:Vegans can consume the entire production from the fruit families.
Veganism and Nutrition Argument
For years the vegan movement has been affected by people who believed that vegan dietary foods could not replace the nutritious value of animal meat. There have been numerous researches across the globe to prove it otherwise. The vegan foods are enriched with essential nutrients like calcium, protein, iron, sodium along with the entire vitamins group including B complex and vitamin D.
Following a vegan diet during pregnancy has proven in better infant health compared to the kids born to the mothers who follow vegetarian or non-vegetarian diets during their pregnancy.
The environmental impact of our food choices and the dangerous climatic changes due to human negligence has paved the way for alternative lifestyles that promote and support sustainable living.