What is Veganism?

Let’s start from the beginning: exactly what is veganism? Given the increased popularity of a vegan diet, I’m sure you’ve heard about it more than once and may even have a friend, family member, or partner who is vegan or is considering a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Just for fun, here’s a list of celebrities who are vegan.

10 Vegan Celebrities in 2020

  1. Natalie Portman;
  2. Ellen Pompeo;
  3. Ellen Page;
  4. Beyonce;
  5. Venus Williams;
  6. Jason Mraz;
  7. Zac Efron;
  8. Bill Clinton;
  9. Liam Hemsworth; and
  10. Benedict Cumberbatch.

Each January, there’s even a movement in the UK –Veganuary– where you are encouraged to try a vegan diet for January and throughout the rest of the year. How cool is that? Here’s a link for more details: Veganuary.

The Vegan Society defines veganism 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.”

The term veganism was coined by Donald Watson in November 1944 and Wikipedia defines it as

“…the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.”

Okay, so we understand what veganism is, but I think there are still many people out there that don’t understand why people become vegan.

Reasons for a Vegan Diet

There are many reasons to follow a vegan diet and each one is a highly personal decision only you can make.

The Top 10 Most Common Reasons to Choose Vegan in 2020

  1. You’ll help animals;
  2. You’ll help the planet;
  3. You’ll lose weight (as long as you avoid processed vegan foods);
  4. You’ll gain energy;
  5. You’ll be healthier;
  6. Vegan food is delicious;
  7. Meat can be full of antibiotics and contaminants;
  8. You are supporting nonviolence;
  9. You’ll reduce your exposure to mercury found in seafood; and
  10. Your sense of smell and taste will improve.

My Story

I became a vegan because of reason number 5 above, to be healthier. Obviously, everyone wants to be as healthy as they can, but most of the time we just do the best we can and keep on doing our jobs, errands, chores…life happens and pretty soon you realize you aren’t as healthy as you thought. I realized this when I started getting older, and when I watched my husband’s and my own parents get diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, that might have been prevented by a healthier lifestyle.

My husband asked me to watch the documentary, Forks Over Knives, after another weekend spent over my parent’s house supporting my mom and step-dad through my step-dad’s pancreatic cancer. I watched it and that started my journey researching how I could let food be my medicine. Though my mom and step-dad weren’t interested in changing their lifestyles, by then, my step-dad could barely eat, I knew it was important for me and my husband to change. So I researched, studied, read, and watched all of the documentaries I could get ahold of and we began our vegan journey.

Below are some of the benefits of following a vegan diet but do your own research and do what is right for you on your journey in this life.

Vegan Lifestyle Benefits

It was startling to find out how many benefits there are to following a vegan lifestyle. Not just the top ten reasons listed earlier, but real, scientifically-backed health benefits. For me, that’s where it starts.

Let’s make it easy and give you another top 10 list, but this list doesn’t cover all of the benefits and should not be the only source on which to base your decision to change your diet. After the list, I’ll recommend the absolute BEST site for scientifically-backed information on the benefits of a vegan and whole-food, plant-based diet that you don’t want to miss.

Top 10 Health Benefits

  1. A vegan diet is a nutrient-rich powerhouse;
  2. You can reduce and reverse diabetes;
  3. You can reduce the risk of kidney disease;
  4. You can reduce your risk of several different cancers;
  5. You can reduce arthritic pain;
  6. You can reduce your risk of heart disease;
  7. You can reduce the risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases;
  8. You can improve your physical fitness levels and speed up recovery times;
  9. You can reduce your bad cholesterol levels; and
  10. You can decrease your blood pressure.

Other Resources

My absolute favorite online resource for scientifically-based research on a vegan and whole-food, plant-based lifestyle is…

Nutrition Facts

Others to get you started:

Forks Over Knives

Plant Strong

The China Study

Is Veganism Healthy

And some great vegan blogs listed in this article:

Top Vegan Blogs

Thank you for taking the time to check out what veganism is and what it has to offer. Stay tuned for more tips and information to help you improve your life, including a series of mini cookbooks I’m writing for vegans and the vegan-curious. Until then, eat your veggies 😉