What do you think - from where the idea of veganism has come? Is it a creation of hipsters or a modern lifestyle? The choice of consuming a diet that is free from animal products for ethical or spiritual reasons has come a long way.
Veganism is a part of vegetarianism. The term was coined in 1994; however, the concept of animal-free products can be traced back to ancient Indian and eastern Mediterranean societies. The mathematician Pythagoras of Samos around 500 BC first mentioned vegetarianism. Not only Pythagoras but followers of Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism promoted vegetarianism believing that humans should not use animals for their food.
A popular statement attributed to Pythagoras hints about the early animal-advocacy and the future. He said-
“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
Several people who were not Pythagoras followers believed that their ancestors were non-violent and found meat-eating and livestock breeding unnecessary.
In November 1994, an activist and a British woodworker Donald Watson said that vegetarians do eat dairy products (milk and eggs), so he coined a new term for those who don’t. He distanced himself completely from vegetarianism and said that it is possible to live without consuming animal products. He then created a new term ‘vegan’ to describe people who do not eat animal products.
Also, it was reported that around 40% of Britain’s cows suffered from tuberculosis. Watson used this news as an advantage and claimed that a vegan lifestyle could protect people from contaminated food.
With the first issue of ‘The Vegan News’ in 1944, the existence of term Veganism was established. Three months after the term was introduced, he also explained how the term should be pronounced. It should be pronounced as “Veegan” and not “Veejan.”
Watson even refused to take the medicines that have animal products or were tested on animals. He believed that his long life is a great example of a lifestyle. Watson died at 95 in 2005. During that period, it was reported that nearly 250,000 people in Britain and two million in the US turned into vegan.
Throughout the history of veganism, many great people adopted this lifestyle. A few names are Mahatma Gandhi, Plato, Pitagoras, and Thomas Alva Edison. Some modern names that can be mentioned here are Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton, and Steve Jobs. Here are more celebs that tuned vegans and are proud of it.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s phrase about veganism is well known.
“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
This is what Plato said about veganism.
“The Gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies; they are the trees and the plants and the seeds.”
Mahatma Gandhi also spread message on vegetarianism.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Every year, more and more people are promoting a vegan lifestyle. Consuming a vegan diet has several health benefits. It is rich in nutrients and helps in losing weight. Additionally, it also prevents you from several types of cancer.
No doubt, veganism is making an impact on the food industry and is also flourishing along with the vegan community. Not because of history or spiritual reasons, but everyone should follow a vegan lifestyle, as it also protects the environment.
Vegan is not just a type of diet, but more of a lifestyle. It’s a healthier choice you make for the people, for the animals, and for a better planet.