Vegan

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.

vegetables

A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.

Distinctions are sometimes made between different categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (or strict vegetarians) refrain from consuming animal products, not only meat but, in contrast to ovo-lacto vegetarians, also eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances.

The term ethical vegan is often applied to those who not only follow a vegan diet, but extend the vegan philosophy into other areas of their lives, and oppose the use of animals or animal products for any purpose. Another term used is environmental veganism, which refers to the rejection of animal products on the premise that the harvesting or industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

The term vegan was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of the British Vegan Society, to mean “non-dairy vegetarian”; the society also opposed the consumption of eggs. In 1951 the society extended the definition of veganism to mean “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals,” and in 1960 H. Jay Dinshah started the American Vegan Society, linking veganism to the Jain concept of ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living beings.

Veganism is a small but growing movement. In many countries the number of vegan restaurants is increasing, and some of the top athletes in certain endurance sports for instance, the Ironman triathlon and the ultramarathon, practise veganism, including raw veganism.

Well-planned vegan diets have been found to offer protection against certain degenerative conditions, including heart disease, and are regarded by the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle.

Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals, and lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.Because uncontaminated plant foods do not provide vitamin B12 (which is produced by microorganisms such as bacteria), researchers agree that vegans should eat foods fortified with B12 or take a daily supplement.

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