The vegan diet is the new trend among health-conscious people, and the practice of avoiding the use of animal products is called veganism. This is mainly due to its health benefits, and reduced environmental impact. November 1 is celebrated as the world vegan day by people world over. Even though the term veganism was coined in 1944, this philosophy can be traced back to ancient times. In this article, we will explore the concept of veganism in the annals of history, read on to know more.
What Is Veganism?
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use and consumption of animal products, and this philosophy can be traced back to the ancient Eastern Mediterranean and Indian societies. In a way, it can be considered an extreme form of vegetarianism. Besides, the concept of vegetarianism was mentioned as early as 500 BC by the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. Furthermore, followers of oriental religions like Jainism and Buddhism practice veganism because of the principle of Ahimsa or non-violence; it is first of the five precepts of Buddhism, and one of the cardinal virtues in Jainism.
Veganism In West
The meatless way followed in a vegan diet and vegetarianism did not catch-up in the west until the late 18th century, the Ephrata Cloister religious sect in Pennsylvania favored celibacy and vegetarianism. Also, the first vegetarianism society was found in England in 1847, and in 1850 the first American vegetarian society was formed by Rev. Sylvester Graham. Later in 1944, led by Donald Watson, many members broke out of the vegetarian society of England because most vegetarians ate eggs and dairy products. The other argument for this move is that the vegan lifestyle protected people from tainted food like spoiled meat from sick cows.
The Vegan Diet
Vitamin B12 is abundantly found in most animal food products, and this is very much absent in a vegan meal. So, it is common for people following a vegan diet to take fortified foods or Vitamin B12 supplements. In the 21st century, veganism has become a lifestyle choice that is followed by people of all age groups, and it is especially true for the vegan diet. Also, nowadays it is part of the animal rights movement as well. Moreover, it is an accepted form of health choice because its health benefits have been proven by numerous scientific studies.
The 1961 issue of Ahimsa magazine defines veganism as “practical expression of the oneness of all life” that is “basic, as it would not only do away with slaughter, vivisection, hunting, and fishing but no doubt also with human exploitation”.