The cacophony of opinions about adopting vegan lifestyle is getting louder and there is more than anticipated hype about lifestyle choices. From dietary fads that float for a few months before withering away to organic food choices, there is an abundance of information and opinions in this niche. In this discussion, our effort is on breaking through the clutter of confusing, overlapping and self-contradicting perceptions about one of the most trending, often argued lifestyle choice, i.e. Veganism.
Getting Started: What is veganism about?
Veganism is not only a dietary choice. It is about making more responsible lifestyle choices. A true vegan is not limited to upscale markets where organic labeled products are sold at exorbitant prices. Expect the informed, educated vegan also asking about how the product was procured, manufactured and shipped. If any of these supply chain activities involved unethical practices or cruelty, the concept of veganism is challenged. Yes, cruelty to animals, including being caged in inhumane conditions or transported in filthy, disease-prone conditions is the most talked about vegan concept. However, the contemporary vegan is also concerned about the local community and the environment. Read ahead to understand what else constitutes veganism and why each of these is a reason strong enough to pursue veganism…
Saying “NO” to cruel commercialization
The perceptions are skewed about what is organic or 100% vegetarian and truly vegan. Consider something as modest as a pizza at a nearby eatery. You need to ask some questions:
- Were the ingredients sourced from chemical-free farms?
- Were the ingredients free from preservatives and artificial flavors?
- Is the staff working at the outlet being exploited?
- Is the business polluting the ecosystem?
- What are the packaging systems used – plastics are not biodegradable!
- Are chemical-heavy, meat substitutes being used?
- Is the business a part of the rising demand for organic, fresh produce?
- Any initiatives towards making the environment healthier, such as composting?
These are just some of the questions. Veganism is a lifestyle transformation, not a dietary revolution. Vegan lifestyle is interlinked with every aspect of your daily schedule.
A disturbing fact: meat sourcing/processing industries, particularly slaughterhouses often witness workers becoming violent, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Clinically, they are more likely to get addicted to alcohol or drugs. Many animal rights groups believe this is the result of guilt they carry, where the workplace is like an assembly line of carcasses.
If you transform into a true vegan, you will invariably:
- Contribute to the local community by buying fresh produce from chemical-free local farms
- Contribute towards lesser emissions by decreasing your dependence on packaged, refrigerated foods that cover thousands of miles and gallons of fuels
- Support the cause of not torturing animals or using them as commodities just to get a plate full of sinfully delicious food
- Decrease your consumption of commercialized products that use a typical assembly-line approach that often trample on human rights and fair trade practices
- Get the psychological satisfaction of knowing that every day you make a significant effort towards making our environment a better place to live
Health Benefits of Embracing a Plant-based Diet
Plant-based diet includes lots of veggies, including plants, legumes, fruits, lentils, beans, and whole grains. No animal sourced food makes it to your dining table.
By not consuming meat or animal-based foods, you significantly reduce chances of:
- Being exposed to chemicals that form a part of livestock raising model
- Unethical animal breeding practices
By consuming more plant-based food items, you raise your chances of:
- Consuming lesser saturated fats and cholesterol
- Getting a daily dose of rare phytochemicals and trace nutrients
- Being less susceptible to stroke, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases
Environmental Benefits of Embracing a Plant-based, Vegan Diet
The concept of carbon footprints is much deeper than you think. Merely driving an electrically powered car does not mean that you have reduced your carbon footprints. Researchers insist upon reducing your food-print. This means your diet should be eco-friendly. It should not patronize practices that pollute the air, soil, water or other natural resources. Livestock raised for consumption has many environment damaging aspects. From feeding to breeding, the supply chain is littered with chemicals. Many of these are known to be toxic, some even carcinogenic. Animal produce stimulates commercialized animal rearing which means more land being shaved for animals to graze upon and consuming more power to process, preserve and transport the animal-sourced produce. Animal grazing is contributing to deforestation just for the sake of a juicy steak!
Switching to vegan lifestyle holistically has many benefits:
- Decreases global warming – less emissions from lesser livestock
- Ensure environmental sustainability – plant foods are easy to regenerate
- Helps in saving natural resources like plants and water
- Reduces destruction of topsoil
- Help in protecting wildlife habitats
- Reduces chances of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and damaging chemicals seeping into the food chain
Vegan is not about just abandoning Meat,
It is more about embracing your Responsibility!
Don’t brand yourself as a vegan just because you have adopted a meatless diet. Even vegetarian diets heavy on packaged, processed foods can lead to serious health hazards. Interpret being vegan as a combination of choosing organic food with a sense of social responsibility. When you abandon meat from your diet, you help to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases. The contemporary vegan is more likely to be connected with community causes, active in promoting the cause of veganism, well acquainted with the nutritional deficiencies that an exclusive plant-based dietary regimen can bring. Today’s vegan has easy access to data, information that helps to make educated decisions. For addressing genetic issues like low bone density or for upgrading the protein intake for those intense workouts sessions, the contemporary vegan realizes the importance of vegetarian, 100% organic supplements. Delve deeper into the world of veganism and you will realize there are many alternatives to the mainstream, non-vegan way of living!