What Is Vegan, part 2:
An update on vegetarianism and veganism. We’ll discuss the key difference between the diet and the lifestyle.
As stated in our previous post, this post is based on my (Sally) current knowledge of veganism and vegetarianism. I am still learning and I know that my beginning experiences are out of date and very brief. Please feel free to correct, add to what is said here, and add your individual take for others to learn from. The goal of this post is to begin a conversation to inform those who have a limited experience and interaction with those living this lifestyle.
Defining the terms vegetarian and vegan from Your Dictionary Online:
A vegetarian is someone who eats exclusively fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts and no meat or, in some cases, no animal products at all. (noun)
A person who believes eating animals is cruel and who thus eats no meat is an example of a vegetarian.
A vegan is a person who will not eat or use any type of animal product. (adjective)
A person who won’t eat meat, dairy or other animal products and who will not use leather or any other product derived from animals is an example of a vegan.
- The Vegan Society goes into more detail:
A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals – no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.
There are many who follow the vegetarian or vegan diet for health reasons. They may or may not share any of the ethical views of those following the lifestyle.
While there are many health benefits to eating either of these diets, those who follow the lifestyle do so for ethical reasons, not solely health reasons. The ethics range from not eating meat, vegetarianism, to not using anything that involves the use of animals, vegan.
There is debate within the vegan community on whether or not those living as vegetarians are really doing so for ethical reasons. This is because they still consume dairy and egg products as well as other goods where animals are involved. Those following the abolitionist approach believe in following the literal definition of veganism to the letter. In the end, it comes down to each persons personal beliefs, willingness to make lasting lifestyle changes, access to vegan alternatives, and where they are in the process of becoming vegan.
Some people who become vegan do so immediately. For example, they will go through everything in their home and either throw it out, send it to be recycled, or donate it.
Others make changes over time by slowly replacing aspects of their life with vegan alternatives. For example, instead of throwing out a wool coat, they may continue to use it until it is worn out. They will then purchase a non-wool coat to take its place. The same can be said for food and body care products. Instead of throwing them out, they will use them and replace them with vegan options when it is time to buy more.
*Vegan Info reminded me of a point that I neglected to mention. Those following the vegan lifestyle also avoid using any product that has been tested on animals.
Are you a Vegetarian? A Vegan?
Are you following the Vegan diet or the Vegan lifestyle? What does your everyday life look like compared to the average omnivore? What would you like every omnivore to know about vegetarianism and/or veganism?
Let us know!!!
[blockquote]Comments from Vegan Maven, the vegan lifestyle:
A “vegan” is a person who does not consume or use ANY animal products either for eating or for other aspects of their lifestyle. This obviously includes all of the above listed animal-derived items AND anything else that comes from an animal (i.e. when we say “animal” we are including all sentient beings so think of all farmyard creatures, wild animals, mammals, fish and other sea creatures, birds, insects, and so on). This means that you won’t see a true vegan using ANY meat or dairy products, eggs, leather, fur, honey, silk, wool, etc.
Furthermore, as vegans we are completely opposed to any form of animal exploitation, which would include things like zoos, pet breeding, animals in sport, animals used in stage shows, and so on. These institutions were created purely for human convenience or entertainment and deny the rights of the animal to a free life.
The original definition of the term “vegan” dates back to 1951 when the early vegans met, as members of the Vegan Society, to agree on a definition for the word ‘veganism’ for the first time. They agreed that, “The word veganism shall mean the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.”
True vegans today uphold that original definition and, therefore, to call oneself “vegan,” one has to actively refuse to partake in any activities where there is ANY exploitation against non-human animals. Anyone who advocates or excuses the exploitation of animals cannot be, by (original) definition, vegan. [/blockquote]
[blockquote]Comments from Tom, the vegan diet:
I don’t eat animal based proteins for about 2 years now. I started this eating choice after several years on a low-carb Atkins diet, eating every animal protein I could stuff in my mouth. A very interesting observation is that when on the Atkins diet, I craved carbs. I wanted bread, candy, fruits, anything with carbs. I lived like this for years, gradually slipping off the diet and regaining weight. In contrast, the vegan diet has caused me no cravings. I’m completely satisfied by plant-based foods. I did miss cheese a little, but for me the key is to have an open mind and realize that something doesn’t have to taste just like milk or cheese to be enjoyable. I enjoy some soy milk occasionally and I really like almond milk. But, trying to imitate diary foods accurately, just isn’t necessary. [/blockquote]