Veganism is more or less like a religion now, doesn’t that sound strange to you? Veganism isn’t really a new concept but it has been receiving a lot of attention lately. A lot of people around us have been going vegan and a lot of celebrities too. But do you really know what is it actually?
Veganism is abstaining the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of the animals. While, Vegan refers to a person who follows this way of eating or to the diet itself. The word vegan can be an adjective used to describe a food item, as in, “This curry is vegan“, or, it can be used as a noun, as in, “Vegans like cookies, too.”
Although there is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet, if you are cooking for other vegans, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid these foods. Most vegans extend the definition of veganism to go beyond just food and will also avoid the use of all personal and household products tested on animals, and avoid purchasing and using all animal-derived, non-food products, such as leather, fur, and wool.
How is Veganism different from Vegetarianism?
For a lot of people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian, the difference between the two might seem very murky. Vegans eat no animal products, while vegetarians don’t eat animals, but may eat products that come from them such as dairy and eggs.
There are different types of vegetarians. They are:
Lacto-Ovo: The term lacto-ovo stands for milk and eggs. Thus, they consume milk and eggs.
Lacto: They only consume dairy products but don’t eat meat, poultry or seafood.
Pescetarian: This is a semi-vegetarian diet that allows the consumption of fish and seafood but no poultry or meat.
Why Go Vegan?
ANIMAL WELFARE: Animal Welfare is one of the most important reasons why people have switched to veganism. Animals are exploited and slaughtered all over the world to fulfil human needs. Modern high-pressure agriculture farms keep cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys and other animals in a very crowded and a small place with a very poor hygienic condition. They are deprived of veterinary care, sunlight and food. Thus, a lot of people chose not to exploit these living beings and have stopped consuming animals and animal products.
ECOLOGICAL BALANCE: A vegan diet reduces the destruction of forests, wildlife habitats and helps to save endangered species. A vegan diet reduces pollution in the land and waters. Modern factory farms are sprayed with herbicides and pesticides to grow grains to feed cattle. Earlier the farmers used chemicals to increase their production, this caused a lot of pollution. Thus, farmers have started shifting to organic methods of farming so that the chemicals do not pollute the land or water.
HEALTH BENEFITS: Veganism has a lot of health benefits as well. Some of the major health benefits are –
- A vegan diet is richer in nutrients. As vegan diet does not involve meat and dairy, it makes one dependent on whole-wheat, fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds. Since these food can take up a large proportion of the vegan diet, they help in contributing to a high amount of nutritional benefits.
- Vegan diet helps to lose weight too. A lot of people have been switching to a plant-based diet as many observations have shown that vegans tend to be thinner and have lower body mass index than the non-vegans.
- It also helps in reducing blood sugar levels. Vegans also have benefits for type 2 diabetes and declining kidney function.
- In a study it has also been proven that vegan diet reduces the risks for prostate, breast and colon cancer.
- Vegans have a 42% chance of not suffering from heart diseases. This is because eating fruits, vegetables, legumes and fibres are linked to reducing the risk of heart diseases and in a vegan diet plan the consumption of these things is in large amounts and well planned.
- Vegan diet also said to reduce the risk of reducing Alzheimer.
- Vegan diet is also helpful in reducing the pain from arthritis. This is due to the benefits of consuming a probiotic-rich, raw vegan food.
How To Go Vegan?
Whatever you have read this far on this article is mere information on what is veganism but now let us get into the process of going vegan.
Don’t rush things
This is the first and foremost step of going vegan. Keep your end goal in mind but go at your own pace. You need to make up your mind thoroughly before going vegan. Take baby steps. Some people may go vegan overnight and if that is your approach too, that is amazing! But don’t be concerned if you take more time. Changing your lifestyle pattern takes time, getting used to it is a gradual process.
You can take one-step everyday to complete your goal. Try quitting meat and dairy first and go for more of a plant-based diet. Or maybe start with taking vegan meal once a day so that you start getting used to it. Try changing one product at a time. Instead of consuming milk, opt for soya or almond milk. Or you could swap butter and start using coconut oil or margarine. There are plant-based alternatives for everything.
Do proper research
Make sure that you consume the right amount of nutrients. Don’t miss on your nutrients! Just because you are going vegan does not mean that you are not getting the right amount of nutrients. Vegan diets are 100% healthy. There is a plant substitute for almost everything. Plan your diets properly. Consult nutritionists and dietitians so that you can make sure that you get the adequate quantity of necessary nutrients.
Ask for help/ research
To live as a vegan in a non-vegetarian world takes both mental fortitude and interest. Veganism has been around since 1944, however it is a generally new idea to numerous individuals. It’s significant you permit yourself an opportunity to find out about the different strands of veganism – and make sure to congratulate yourself en route for your accomplishment. Where can I buy vegan chocolate?” “How do I bake cakes without eggs?” “I don’t know how to speak to my family about veganism!” Fear not –you’re not alone, internet is the new-age grandma. There are a lot of websites, stores, etc. that help people with any sort of information needed on veganism.
Remind yourself about why you chose to be vegan
Everyone might have a different reason of chosing some sort of lifestyle that they follow. The same way remind yourself about why you chose to go vegan and the benefits of going vegan. This will make your journey easier. But if you are feeling that going vegan is a lot more hectic and you aren’t doing well, take a deep breath, read some books or blogs, watch your favourite movie, or do anything that makes you happy. Remember, this is just a phase that will pass soon. Beleive in yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!