What is veganism?
Unlike vegetarianism, veganism means abstaining from eating any products which have been derived from animals. This means that vegans don't merely avoid meat and fish, as vegetarians do, but also things like eggs, cheese, milk and other dairy products. In addition, the majority of vegans will also avoid using or owning products which have been derived from animals. Leather products are not considered to be vegan by most vegans, for example. Also, lambswool, fur, mohair and snakeskin are commonly avoided. As such, veganism is a philosophy based on the dignity of animals rather than being a dietary lifestyle. That said, there are different interpretations of what veganism is, and opinions vary.
Can veganism cause health problems?
Without certain foodstuffs, veganism can lead to some health problems unless care is taken to supplement a conventional vegan diet. So long as vegans keep up their intake of things like vitamin B12 and some fatty acids, then they can continue to be perfectly healthy. The fact is that it depends on the underlying health of the individual concerned. Vegan diets tend to lower obesity and the related conditions that go with it, such as heart disease, for example. Incidences of type 2 diabetes also tend to be lower among vegans than the general population.
Where did veganism start?
Although vegetarian and near vegan diets have been around for several thousand years, the term veganism only began to enter popular usage in the 1940s. Members of the Vegetarian Society coined the term to refer to non-dairy vegetarianism. Of course, vegetarians, who also chose not to consume dairy products, had been around well before then. However, from the middle of the decade, the term vegan began to catch on, and the first vegan society was founded in North America in 1948.
Will veganism become the norm?
Since more and more people are turning to veganism these days, it is often suggested that it will become the most common form of diet sooner or later. Despite some high-profile vegans who espouse the healthiness and ethical nature of veganism, it is far from the norm. According to the Vegan Society, between 2016 and 2018, the rise of vegan dishes being ordered rose by almost 400 per cent in Britain. That said, UK vegans make up just over one per cent of the population, so veganism has a long way to go to become the norm even if its popularity continues to rise.
What is environmental veganism?
Unlike many forms of veganism, which tend to promote the rights of animals not to be treated as commodities by people, environmental vegans espouse the idea that a vegan diet should be adopted for the good of the wider environment. They argue that animal farming, especially factory farming, is unsustainable. Dietary vegans and environmental vegans often share similar ideas and one point of view does not exclude the other.