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Everything You Need to Know About Veganism

With the recent rise in popularity of the vegan lifestyle, some of you might be wondering what exactly is veganism? Let’s try to answer that.

What is Veganism?

Vegetarianism today is the lifestyle where an individual tries to abstain from all types of animal-based products, especially in food. Veganism on the other hand is a more extreme form of vegetarianism where individuals try to abstain from animal-based products even if they are not food. This includes animal-based food, clothing, and any other thing produced through animal exploitation.

Why Do People Choose Veganism?A woman with vegan fruit, vegetables and a blender leaning against the counter eating an apple.

There are 3 common reasons why people decide to become vegan which are as follows:

Ethics

Some people chose to be vegan for ethical reasons. Ethical vegan believes that every creature has an equal right to live and to be free. They believe it to be unethical to kill a living creature for the sake of the products obtained from it. They are also against the stress placed upon animals during modern farming practices both physically and psychologically. Ethical vegans try not to use animals for any purpose in their lifestyle.

Health

Some people chose to be vegan for health-related reasons. As abstaining from the consumption of animal-based products can result in a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as cancer and heart diseases and a plant-based diet also has its own benefits. People chose this lifestyle for these kinds of benefits. People also become vegans in order to avoid side effects from antibiotics and hormones that are utilized in modern agriculture.

Environment

Some people chose to be vegan because of the effects of animal-based products on the environment. These views are based on the fact that animal agriculture produced more greenhouse gases than its plant-based alternative. It is also very water-intensive. Animal agriculture is associated with deforestation to make pastures etc.

What do they eat?Two vegans sitting at a table with fruit and vegan food sipping coffee and eating.

The vegan lifestyle includes avoiding meat and using alternatives wherever necessary. There has also been progress in making vegan meat that tastes like meat but isn’t made of meat. Most of the dishes cooked and eaten normally are already either vegan or just require minor alteration to become vegan dishes. There are also substitutes for milk such as plant milks. This makes a vegan diet pretty versatile.

Hazards

Human beings require some nutrients to survive that are either only found abundantly in meat. Vitamin B12 falls in this category as it is only found in sufficient amounts in animal-based foods. It is a vitamin essential for cell division and the formation and maturation of red blood cells. It is also necessary for normal nerve functions. Failure to acquire enough B12 can result in neurological damage which can result in death. The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are sometimes masked by a high amount of folacin in vegan diets which can allow it to go undetected until neurological damage becomes evident by which point it can be irreversible. This along with some other nutrients can be lacking in a vegetarian diet. So, it is necessary to ensure that your body gets the necessary nutrients by eating fortified foods, through supplements, and by taking vitamins where necessary.

Benefits

According to some studies, vegans have a lower risk of heart disease. A vegan diet also tends to have a very low amount of cholesterol and it may reduce risks of certain types of cancer. A vegan diet has been linked to lower sugar levels as well as improved kidney functions. It also helps with losing weight and reduces the risk of diabetes.

Veganism is a lifestyle that might suit some and might not suit others. People tend to have different reasons for becoming vegan and although it has many benefits, you need to ensure that you provide your body with nutrients that might be lacking in this lifestyle.