In recent years, there has been a flood of people on social media boasting of their new found vegan diets. Many people wonder whether or not the diet/lifestyle choice really does have all of the positive effects that they claim. So it’s important to look at the movement and cover the pros and cons before making judgement, or diving in head first.
Read on and find out whether the vegan lifestyle is for you.
What Is Veganism?
Many people think veganism is the choice to just not eat any animal products. However, the whole concept of veganism includes most of your lifestyle. To be truly vegan, you must cut out all animal products in your life. This includes clothes of leather or wool, leather shoes, makeup that has been tested on animals, soaps that have been tested on animals. The list goes on.
If you focus only on the dietary part of the movement then you are solely taking part in a plant-based diet. Which is totally fine too. However, you want to come at the thing, whatever level of commitment you want to give to veganism or the movement is entirely personal.
Many vegans beat themselves up about slipping up and accidentally buying an animal product, but it’s important to know that that’s totally okay.
Where Did It Come From?
It may seem to some people that veganism appeared only in the past two years. This is not the case, however, it has seen a massive increase. Possibly down to social media and the availability of information. Between 2006 and 2016, there was a 350% increase in the number of vegans in the UK. Over the decade, the number of people following a vegan diet went from 150,000 to 542,000. An article by The Guardian reported that in their survey, nearly 70% of all vegans they asked were under 34.
The vegan lifestyle is portrayed as glamorous and is advocated by many celebrities as a healthy lifestyle. Mainly through platforms like Instagram and Twitter. This is said to have influenced many peoples’ choices. However, most people currently posting about veganism state that it is for the environmental benefits it provides.
How Does It Affect The Environment?
In order to determine this, it’s important to look at the effect that the livestock industry has on the environment:
- Deforestation for livestock farming, and extreme overfishing caused by the seafood industry mean the overall capacity of the Earth to produce food is very limited. Reportedly, each year 700 million tons of food goes to livestock each year that could have been given to the neediest areas of the world.
- In Scotland, emissions from livestock production are responsible for roughly 50% of the greenhouses gasses that are emitted from the country. This is a pattern seen across the world. Reducing the amount of farming, and using the land to plant crops would see a dramatic drop in the carbon footprint of each country.
Can I Stay Healthy And Be Vegan?
Yes! However, you need to do your research. If you eliminate meat and animal-based products from your diet, you need to replace them with other nutrient-rich foods. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a shortage or many important nutritional requirements. These include calcium, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Read up and see if this lifestyle is for you!