In the past few years, there is a rise in the popularity of veganism. As the majority of people know, veganism is a form of a vegetarian diet. It eliminates all animal-derived ingredients, including meat, eggs, dairy products, and other related ingredients. But, this is only half of what veganism is all about.
The Vegan Society defines veganism as an ideology and a way of life that aims to eliminate all types of animal abuse and cruelty, as far as is possible and feasible, for food, clothing, or any other purpose. And, as a result, also encourages the production and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment.
Therefore, it is not ideal to limit veganism to just a diet. Adapting veganism in your life is much more than just being conscious of your food. It is about cutting all the things that involve animal cruelty.
Veganism is a lifestyle. Here is how:
- Animal Products are used in cosmetics including makeup, shampoo, and even soaps. With the true definition of veganism, vegans should only use products that are animal-free. Such products have ‘V’ as a symbol on their packaging that denotes Vegan.
- Vegans do not wear clothes made out of animal products like wool or leather. Moreover, accessories that comprise exotic materials such as pearl are not for vegans. They dedicate their life trying to cause as little harm as possible to animals.
- And of course, the food is important. Anything that includes animal or animal by-products is a strict no.
It includes milk and milk-based products such as cheese. The diet of vegans mostly comprises plant-based food.
- Veganism also believes that any harm to animals should have a ban on them. It includes testing of medicines to know if it is safe for humans.
- The exploitation of animals in any manner is also condemned by vegans. Veganism believes that animals should have a life free from duty or obligation to humans. This also means not using animals for entertainment purposes. For instance – in a zoo or aquariums, or organizing competitions like racing or a fight.
Why should we choose to become Vegan?
For different people, choosing a vegan lifestyle must have a variety of reasons behind it. For some, it can be for the health benefits it derives, or as an environmental cause, or maybe even just standing up against animal suffering and abuse. Let us look at the various reasons why Veganism has much more to contribute to our life than just a diet.
- Fewer heart diseases – Meat typically contains high levels of trans saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol in the blood. Whereas, plant-based foods contain no dietary cholesterol by definition. Hence, a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet can increase blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Lesser risk of Type 2 Diabetes – A plant-based diet appears to be reducing the risk of diabetes and even reversing the disease, according to a growing body of evidence. In the recent study, with more than 2000 adults, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes has decreased 60% by people with a dietary increase in fruits, vegetables, and nuts for 20 years.
- Reduced risk of cancer – Recent studies show that vegans have up to 19% lower cancer rates than meat-eaters. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified red meat as a Group 2 carcinogen in 2015, indicating that it is likely to cause cancer in humans. Therefore, even small amounts of meat may increase the risk of developing cancer.
- Good for physical and mental health – Some studies link a vegan diet with a good body mass index and lower body weight. Not only this, but vegans experience good moods often more than meat-eaters.
- Greenhouse gas emissions – Animal agriculture is responsible for 65% of global nitrous oxide emissions, 35–40% of methane emissions, and 9% of carbon dioxide emissions. These chemicals are the three most significant greenhouse gas contributors to global warming. Moreover, the emissions generated by half a pound of beef are the same as driving a car 9.8 miles. While producing half a pound of potatoes is equivalent to driving 0.17 miles in a car.
- Water pollution – Some scientists believe that by 2048, the world’s oceans will be devoid of fish due to overfishing. Additionally, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers used on feed crops find their way through rivers and pollute them. Factory farm runoff and livestock grazing are both significant sources of pollutants in rivers and lakes.
- Reduction in Deforestation – Since there is a large number of raising of livestock for human consumption, the animals require food to develop. Consequently, the animal agriculture industry’s need for pasture to grow crops to feed livestock causes deforestation.
- Reduction in animal testing – According to PETA, more than 95% of prescription drugs are found to be safe and successful in animals but fail in human trials. Nonetheless, the practice is still widespread in the cosmetics industry. Since veganism forbids animal cruelty, purchasing vegan beauty goods ensures that you are not endorsing animal testing.
- Boycotting industries involving animal cruelty – Aside from the animal welfare concerns associated with the livestock trade, raising animals for leather has a major environmental impact. Besides this, the wool industry involves the aggressive handling of sheep. In the meat industry, animals are kept in overcrowded areas under unhealthy conditions. While in the dairy industry, cows are forcibly artificially inseminated and young ones are separated from their mothers.
- Protecting animals – Foods industry treats animals as commodities and abuses them for their benefit. They are subjected to excruciating mutilations without anesthesia. To maximize efficiency, they are bred to grow unnaturally fast and big. Every day, there is a slaughter of over 150 million farm animals. Veganism contributes to the protection of animals from such kind of horrible experiences.
While many organizations promote veganism as a lifestyle including PETA and The Vegan Society. People around the world have also started shifting towards a plant-based diet in their meals. Besides the benefits mentioned above, veganism can also help to end the major problem of hunger in the world. With the reduction in the production of animal products, the food produced through farming can significantly increase the amount of production. The large number of resources used to produce beef can simply produce food for a large number of masses.
From this article, we have understood that veganism has a much greater significance than we could have imagined. Hence it is justified to say that ‘Veganism is not just a diet, but a way of life.’