What is Veganism?
A vegan is so much more than a barmy person who doesn't eat meat. Veganism is an entire lifestyle that draws together a compassionate ethical concern both for animals and for fellow humans, environmental awareness, and a health conscious diet.
You may already have heard the phrase 'lifestyle veganism' as opposed to mere 'dietary veganism'. This phrase accurately describes veganism because it highlights the way in which veganism is about more than just dietary choices. Rather, it is a caring, responsible way of living in all aspects of life. Veganism permeates everything from what clothes a person wears to what they eat, how they treat others, and how they travel.
Eliminating animal products from all areas of life
In terms of diet, vegans do not eat milk, eggs, dairy, and honey. In short, they eschew all animal products. Veganism is more than this, however. It also means eliminating animal products from other areas of life. For instance, lifestyle vegans will not wear wool or leather, and they will check to ensure that none of the dyes used in their makeup or the emollients used in their cosmetics have been sourced from animals.
A holistic view of the world
Vegans tend to cite ending the suffering of animals and care for the environment as two key concerns motivating their dietary and lifestyle choices. The two concerns are highly connected. As well as reducing animal suffering and death, the vegan diet produces much less greenhouse gas and CO2 than vegetarian and omnivorous diets, for instance. For many vegans, everything is connected, and they tend to see their veganism as a reason to resist exploitation and the destruction of the environment in all its forms. So, this might mean:
•Choosing carbon neutral sources of energy
•Taking part in environmental projects
•Working to reduce human suffering the world over
•Refusing to wear clothing that has been unethically produced (for instance in a sweatshop)
•Avoiding brands that are known to be unethical
•Eating locally, to support local, independent businesses and to reduce their carbon footprint
One way of illustrating the holistic benefit of a vegan diet is by referring to the fact that if everybody in the world adopted this diet, agriculture would become much more energy efficient and thus poverty would end across the globe.
A natural way to live
Veganism is not a weird or ersatz way of living and eating. Vegan food is as delicious (indeed vegans will tell you it's more delicious) than meat, eggs, or dairy based foods. Vegan clothing and cosmetics help you to say wonderfully stylish. Going vegan is easy, feels natural, and is also super healthy. In sum, veganism is good for the environment, good for other humans, and good for the individual vegan themselves into the bargain.