So Define the Word Vegan
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is known as a vegan. Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans, also known as “strict vegetarians”, refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances. An ethical vegan, also known as a “moral vegetarian”, is someone who not only follows a vegan diet but extends the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and opposes the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is “environmental veganism”, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable. (from Wikipedia)
WebMD has some great information you should check out. The first thing they do there is break down what you can eat.
What You Can Eat
On a vegan diet, you can eat foods made from plants, including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Breads, rice, and pasta
- Dairy alternatives such as soymilk, coconut milk, and almond milk
- Vegetable oils
What You Can’t Eat
Vegans can’t eat any foods made from animals, including:
- Beef, pork, lamb, and other red meat
- Chicken, duck, and other poultry
- Fish or shellfish such as crabs, clams, and mussels
- Cheese, butter
- Milk, cream, ice cream, and other dairy products
- Mayonnaise (because it includes egg yolks)
Studies show that vegans have better heart health and lower odds of having certain diseases. Those who skip meat have less of a chance of becoming obese or getting heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Vegans are also less likely to get diabetes and some kinds of cancer, especially cancers of the GI tract and the breast, ovaries, and uterus in women.
For more info from WebMD Click here
The Vegan Society and the history of Veganism
The Vegan Society was founded in November 1944
The Vegan Society may have been established 75 years ago but veganism has been around much longer. Evidence of people choosing to avoid animal products can be traced back over 2,000 years. As early as 500 BCE, Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras promoted benevolence among all species and followed what could be described as a vegetarian diet. Around the same time, Siddhārtha Gautama (better known as the Buddha) was discussing vegetarian diets with his followers.
Fast forward to 1806 CE and the earliest concepts of veganism are just starting to take shape, with Dr William Lambe and Percy Bysshe Shelley amongst the first Europeans to publicly object to eggs and dairy on ethical grounds.
The first modern-day vegans
In November 1944, Donald Watson (right and below) called a meeting with five other non-dairy vegetarians, including Elsie Shrigley, to discuss non-dairy vegetarian diets and lifestyles. Though many held similar views at the time, these six pioneers were the first to actively found a new movement – despite opposition. The group felt a new word was required to describe them; something more concise than ‘non-dairy vegetarians’. Rejected words included ‘dairyban’, ‘vitan’, and ‘benevore’. They settled on ‘vegan’, a word that Donald Watson later described as containing the first three and last two letters of ‘vegetarian’. In the words of Donald Watson, it marked “the beginning and end of vegetarian”. The word vegan was coined by Donald Watson from a suggestion by early members Mr George A. Henderson and his wife Fay K. Henderson that the society should be called Allvega and the magazine Allvegan.
Their official definition
“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
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