What Exactly Is Veganism?


Veganism is becoming more popular. Several celebrities have gone vegan in recent years, and a plethora of vegan products have become available in stores.

Still, you may be wondering what this eating pattern entails — and what you can and cannot eat on a vegan diet. This write-up will teach you everything there is to know about veganism.

What Exactly Is Veganism?

The term “vegan” was thought up in 1944 by a select minority of vegetarians who split from the Leicester Vegetarian Society to form the Vegan Society in England. They chose not to consume eggs, dairy, or any other animal-derived products, in addition to not eating meat, as vegetarians do.

By bringing together the first and last letters of “vegetarian,” the term “vegan” was born. Today, veganism is defined as a way of life that seeks to eliminate all forms of animal cruelty and exploitation, whether in clothing, food, or any other reason.

What Motivates People To Become Vegan?

Vegans generally avoid animal products for one or more reasons listed below.

  • Ethics

Vegans who are ethical have a strong belief system that all creatures have the right to life and freedom. As a result, they are opposed to ending the life of a conscious being to drink its milk, consume its flesh, or wear its skin, especially when alternatives are available.

Vegans who are ethical are also against the physical and psychological stress that animals may experience because of modern farming practices. Ethical vegans, for example, lament the small pens and cages in which many livestock live and frequently leave between birth and slaughter.

Furthermore, many vegans speak out against farming practices such as the egg industry’s grinding of live male chicks or the force-feeding of ducks and geese for the foie gras market. Ethical vegans can express their displeasure by protesting, raising awareness, and purchasing products that do not involve animal agriculture.

  • Health

Some individuals choose veganism because of the potential health benefits. Plant-based diets, for example, may lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and premature death.

Reducing your consumption of animal products may also lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, or heart disease. Some people choose veganism to avoid the side effects of modern animal agriculture’s antibiotics and hormones.

Finally, studies show that vegan diets lower body weight and BMI (BMI). Some people may opt for these diets in order to lose weight.

  • Environment

People may also avoid animal products due to the environmental impact of animal agriculture. A 2010 United Nations (UN) report reported that these products use more resources and emit more greenhouse gases than plant-based alternatives.

Animal agriculture, for example, accounts for 65 percent of global nitrous oxide emissions, 35–40 percent of methane emissions, and 9 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. These chemicals are regarded as the three primary greenhouse gases implicated in climate change.

Furthermore, animal agriculture is a water-intensive industry. For example, 1 pound (0.5 kg) of beef requires 550–5,200 gallons (1,700–19,550 liters) of water. That’s up to 43 times the amount of water required to produce the same amount of cereal grains.

When forested areas are burned for pasture or cropland, it can also lead to deforestation. It is thought that habitat destruction is contributing to the extinction of various animal species.

Types of Veganism

Mentioned below are some well-known types of this lifestyle: 

  1. Dietary Vegans 

This term, which is often used interchangeably with “plant-based eaters,” refers to people who avoid eating animal products but continue to use them in other products such as cosmetics and clothing.

  1. Whole-Food Vegans

These people prefer a diet high in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

  1. Vegan Junk-Food Eaters

Some vegans depend largely on processed vegan foods like frozen dinners, vegan meats, fries, and desserts like non-dairy ice cream and Oreo cookies.

  1. Raw-Food Vegans 

This group consumes only raw or cooked foods at temperatures less than 48°C (118°F).

  1. Raw-Food, Low-Fat Vegans  

This subset, also known as fruitarians, avoids high-fat foods like avocados, nuts, and coconuts in favor of fruit. Other plants are eaten in small amounts on occasion.

Foods That Are Avoided By Vegans 

Vegans avoid all animal-derived foods. These are:

  • Honey
  • Chicken
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Shellfish

Vegans also avoid animal-derived ingredients like casein, isinglass, albumin, gelatin, carmine, pepsin, whey, and shellac.

Some breakfast cereals, wine and beer, gummy candies, marshmallows, and chewing gum contain these ingredients.

Vegans’ Favorite Foods

Avoiding animal products does not limit you to just tofu and vegetables. In fact, many regular dishes are already vegan or can be easily adapted to be so. 

Some examples are tomato pizzas, bean burritos, smoothies, veggie burgers, nachos with salsa and guacamole, pasta dishes hummus wraps, and sandwiches.

Meat-based entrées are typically substituted for meals that include the following ingredients:

  • Beans
  • Seitan
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
  • Lentils
  • Seeds

You can substitute scrambled eggs for tofu, plant milk for dairy products, raw eggs for flax or chia seeds, and honey for plant-based sweeteners like maple syrup or molasses. 

Furthermore, vegans consume a wide variety of vegetables and fruits as well as a variety of whole grains.

Finally, there is an ever-expanding selection of ready-made vegan products, such as fortified plant milk, vegan meats, desserts, and vegan cheeses.

On the other hand, these highly processed products may be loaded with artificial ingredients, oils, and additives.

Vegans are people who abstain from animal products for health, ethical, or environmental reasons — or a combination of the three.

Instead, they eat an assortment of plant foods, such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, and products made from these foods.

If you’re inquisitive about this eating pattern, you might find that transitioning to veganism is easier than you think. However, you might want to think about taking supplements to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body requires.