Veganism is an extreme form of vegetarianism, wherein, a person avoids meat, dairy, poultry, leather, or anything that has been derived from or who’s source is related to an animal origin thus a vegan is usually referred to as a person who eliminates the use and consumption of animals or animal products particularly in the diet.
Vegetarianism versus Veganism
It is extremely important to bare in mind that vegans and vegetarians are two different groups of people. People who follow the vegetarian way of living consume meat products like dairy, poultry, etc. or may wear clothes of wool, etc. that are derived from an animal origin. A vegan person however, in addition to consumption of only plant based products, completely eradicates the use of any animal product therefore not consuming dairy, poultry like products and replacing them with substitutes like almond milk, etc.
How did the concept of veganism evolve?
Donald Watson was the founder the vegan society that was formed on the November of 1944, he also coined the termed ‘ vegan ‘ back then. Hence every year the 1st of November is celebrated globally as world vegan day; Although the society was formed 76 years ago, the concept of veganism or vegetarianism can be traced much further back than it. Up until the mid of the 1800 century, the society that avoided consumption of meat were call the Pythagoreans and the diet was referred to as a Pythagorean diet. Mr. Watson proved that a vegan diet could prevent zoonotic diseases and therefore vegans must be differentiated from vegetarians. Veganism became an extremely popular lifestyle for more than just health related issues in the year 2010.
Benefits of a vegan lifestyle
It is not a mystery today that a plant based diet can prove to be extremely beneficial both for the person who consumes such a diet as well as to the animal livestock and the planet as a whole. Promoting a plant based diet may also help overcome risk of extinction of certain animals that are at threat for the same and thus maintain a healthy food chain. Various studies conducted and analysed on a global level have shown that around 8 million deaths per year can be avoided on account of conversion to a vegan or plant based diet.
A vegan diet is said to increase weight loss and therefore helps in maintaining a good body mass index. Decrease in weight will in turn give a healthy result thus reducing risk of diseases like diabetes, obesity, etc. A great amount of nutritionists have advocated for promotion of such plant based diets for this particular reason. Consequently, a balanced weight also helps in diseases thus promoting a healthy way of life this increasing the lifespan of an individual considerably. The people suffering from diseases like cholesterol and other heart diseases like hypertension and cardiovascular disease have made to shift to a vegan based diet to reduce risk of relapses and have shown promising results.
Buying plant based products is getting easier by the day. A tremendous shift to such vegan diets has been observed hence a variety of substitutes for essential nutrients and vitamins that were originally obtained through animals have now become available. A lot of research is currently on for the discovery of more such products.
Drawbacks of a vegan diet
Every coin has 2 sides likewise, a vegan based diet too has its own flaws as well. If not carefully considered and maintained, the weight loss due to a vegan diet may be excessive that may not be healthy thus reducing appetite as well as immunity which may also be a cause for other diseases and related problems to arise.
Though healthier, the amount of specific nutrients like minerals ( iron, zinc, etc. ), Vitamin ( especially vitamin B12 ), and some omega 3 fatty acids and proteins derived from meat and it’s products may not be present in sufficient quantities in a plant based diet. If these nutrients and not supplied externally, they may have neurological and physical deficits that may sometimes be of concern. Relying on pulses as the only source of protein may not be very wise either.
Over to you
In conclusion, the choice to be made is on us; bearing in mind that vegan diet although healthier and beneficial to more than just human life, may have some impacts. Thus for consumption, pace yourself, rely on small portions of healthy snacks at regular intervals, know your diet add on the substitutes embrace your meals and the changes that it brings to your body keeping the meals simple but vegan will diversify itself.