What is veganism?
Typically, this is not a question that most people have floating around in their minds. They wouldn’t consider answering this question life-altering, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The simple answer defined by the Oxford dictionary is, “Veganism is the practice of eating only food not derived from animals and typically of avoiding the use of other animal products.”(1). The Vegan Society goes deeper into this definition by clarifying it “excludes the exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals…”(2). While this does answer the question “what is veganism?” it neglects to provide the full scope of what veganism is about.
Veganism as a whole can be defined differently by many people, and many people transition to this lifestyle for an even wider variety of reasons, be it to improve their health, help the environment, or for the well-being of animals (just to name a few). The term vegan was created by Donald Watson in 1944, but he focused mainly on a vegan diet and not the lifestyle as a whole. Veganism is such a fascinating world and philosophy to explore! It can provide insight into issues affecting our environment and way of life. In case you are interested in learning more outside of the basics. A few recommended documentaries to watch would be Cowspiracy, What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Seaspiracy, Dominion, and a not-so-common one, Super-Size Me 2. All of these give great information and insight into why veganism is a choice that benefits more than just the consumer.
Being part of the vegan community can come with differing opinions, as any lifestyle change community might. The important thing to do is remember why you chose this new life for yourself or even for others. All of this barely tips the iceberg of veganism, but it is HIGHLY encouraged to explore more!