Veganism, put simply, is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. Another way to look at veganism is that it’s a manner of eating that is based entirely on plants. Well-planned vegan diets follow healthy eating guidelines and contain all the nutrients that our bodies need. Both the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognize that it is a suitable way to eat for every age and stage of life.
Abstaining from things like meat, eggs, and dairy will inevitably lead you to rely more heavily on other foods. Replacements can take the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and seeds. Since these foods make up a larger proportion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking and improve your diet. There are all kinds of diverse foods and flavors that can be prepared in endless combinations. Additionally, we now are fortunate to have many affordable and easily sourced alternatives to just about everything.
The production of meat and other animal products also places a heavy burden on the earth — from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. Plant-based diets use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Avoiding animal products is the simplest way to take a stand against inefficient food systems which disproportionately affect the poorest people all over the world.
Going vegan is easier than ever before with veganism becoming increasingly mainstream as more and more people from all walks of life discover the benefits of living this way. Each time we make the switch from an animal product to a vegan one we are standing up for farmed animals, the environment, and our health.
“There are several widely-used arguments within animal rights philosophy. The most common pertains to the word speciesism. To engage in speciesism is to exploit animals purely on the basis of what species they happen to belong to, without regard for their ability to think, feel, or suffer. Speciesism is fundamentally irrational, and yet once you start looking for it you can see it everywhere. Perhaps the most obvious example relates to the fact that by all accounts pigs are more intelligent than dogs, and yet suffer a variety of torments in agriculture that would get the perpetrators jailed if they treated a dog in the same manner.”