Often I’ve heard people say “vegetarian people eat our food’s food” or “if you want to go abroad you have to learn to eat non-veg” and so on. Keeping all this aside, there are some who are raised as vegetarians and some who become vegetarian by choice. However recently there is another term which is getting familiar to all nowadays is ‘Vegan’. This is different from that of ‘vegetarianism’.
The first time I came across this term was when I heard that Mayim Bialik who portrays as Amy Farrah in The Big Bang Theory is vegan. That’s when I realized the difference between a ‘vegetarian’ and a ‘vegan’.
A vegan is someone who abstains from consuming any animal product (such as meat, dairy products), it furthermore extends to an ideology which objects from animal exploitation. And the difference between the two (vegetarian and vegan)is that vegetarians have dairy products included in their diet whereas vegans don’t. The term was first coined by Donald Watson in 1944 who is the founder of The Vegan Society.
There are many celebrities who promote veganism like Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Eilish, Maneka Gandhi, Greta Thunberg, etc.
But why are more and more people turning to Veganism these days?.
Researches at Oxford University found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food up to 73%. And a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, if everyone stopped eating these foods i.e meat and/or dairy products the global farmland use could be reduced by 75%, an area equivalent to the size of the U.S, China, Australia, and European Union combined. In order to produce meat, the cattle require large amounts of food and land to produce for livestock consumption which in turn results in deforestation for cultivating agricultural land to produce, for humans as well as for the cattle. And to produce one kg of meat it requires around 5000–20,000liters of water. It is estimated that around 700 million tons of food that could be consumed by humans goes to livestock every year. Apart from that the meat-producing industry exploits and torture animals.
Veganism/A vegan diet has health benefits such as lower Blood pressure and cholesterol, lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. The British Dietetic Association and The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognized that a vegan diet is suitable for all ages and stages of life.
Organizations like PETA(People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) which have 2 million members worldwide, World Animal Protection which is an umbrella organization over 50 countries with 1000 member societies, CAFT (Coalition to Abolish Fur Trade) all work toward the welfare of animals and promote veganism.
Embracing a plant-based diet may not be possible and/or suitable to all as everyone has their own food and diet choices, however, we all have to eat every day, it doesn’t necessarily require you to be a vegan but if you cut down meat consumption by at least 80–90% it can help a lot. And for dairy-based products, there are many substitutes and alternatives like almond milk/soya milk, margarine for butter, vegan cheese, and protein soybeans can be the best alternative as they are rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega3.
Even cafés and restaurants are including vegan dishes to suit the appetite of vegan customers.
Hence as all of us cannot drastically change to a completely plant-based diet we can try as much as possible into embracing one.
Contributed By- Shravani D’Souza, Content Writer @ Mitti Ke Rang
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