Being vegan is about making an ethical decision to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living, sentient creatures. Many people also become vegan or plant based for reasons of sustainability and improved personal health. Being vegan is about understanding that our food and lifestyle choices have consequences for ourselves, and beyond ourselves.
PROTECTING THE PLANET
Animal farming is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole of global transportation. Dairy and meat producers are polluting both the land and waterways. Current commercial fishing operations could see fishless oceans by 2048.
Up to ten times more land and water is needed to support a typical diet of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy than a plant-based diet.
Naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, and low in saturated fats, a well balanced vegan diet provides all the nutrition we need in all stages of life. This includes adequate amounts of protein, iron, calcium and omega 3’s.
The only vitamin that needs supplementing is B12, which can be easily sourced from nutritional yeast, vitamins or fortified foods. In addition, people on a vegan diet are at a reduced risk of the number one health disorders, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and obesity.
COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS
In all animal agriculture industries, innocent, sentient animals are bred to be killed. Most dairy cows are separated from their young shortly after they give birth, so that humans can take their milk.
Male calves are either killed immediately or raised for veal or beef. The egg industry kills all baby male chicks as they do not produce eggs. Even animals raised free range and organic end up in the same slaughterhouses. Vegans choose not to participate in this.
Bringing up a child vegan means allowing them to display their natural empathy and kindness towards ALL animals in every possible way.
What is Vegan?
A Vegan lives a lifestyle of Veganism.
Veganism is defined as: a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including seafood), dairy, eggs and honey, as well as products like leather and anything tested on animals.
What is Vegetarian?
Vegetarians are similar to Vegans in that they do not eat meat. They also share many of the same ethical beliefs as vegans. Vegetarians may or may not include eggs, dairy and honey in their diets. A Pescetarian is someone who abstains from all animal flesh except fish.
What is Plant Based?
Plant Based refers to diet rather than lifestyle. A plant based diet is very similar to a vegan diet in that it contains no animal products, but the person may or may not actively embrace a vegan lifestyle or hold the same ethical beliefs as a Vegan. A person who is plant based may be more relaxed around reading ingredients on food packages or consuming honey for example.
What is Whole Food Plant Based?
Again, this term refers to diet alone, rather than lifestyle. A whole food plant based diet results in optimum health benefits and is predominantly made up of fruit/vegetables/grains/nuts/seeds and very low amounts of oil or processed foods. Many vegans follow a whole food plant based diet.
In summary: Vegan = for the animals, Plant Based = for the food/health
Protecting The Planet
Ayres, Ed; “Will We Still Eat Meat? Maybe Not, If We Wake Up to What the Mass Production of Animal Flesh is Doing to Our Health, and the Planet’s” Time Magazine , November 8, 1999.
Borgsrum, Georg, cited in Lappe, Francis Moore, Diet for a Small Planet, Ballentine Books, 1975 Edition, p. 22
Robbins, John. Diet for a New America, StillPoint Publishing, 1987, p. 352
For further information on Veganism, including recommended documentaries and books Please read more.