Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Veganism
If you were to stop someone in the street and ask them about veganism, chances are all they could tell you is that it involves following a plant-based diet and avoiding any animal produce.
To many people, veganism is a relatively new trend, being seen as a more extreme version of vegetarianism. The truth is, it’s actually been around for thousands of years – dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization.
In this article, we’re going to be diving deeper into some of the most interesting facts about veganism.
Where Did Veganism Come From?
While plant-based diets have been around since 3300 BCE, veganism got its name a lot later on, when Donald Watson was dissatisfied with the Vegetarian Society’s views towards animal produce (milk, eggs, cheese, etc.) in 1944.
Watson was the secretary of the Leicester branch of the Vegan Society, and was unhappy when they refused to include a section of their newsletter that was dedicated to non-dairy vegetarian diets.
Where Did the Name Come From?
Watson chose the name “Vegan News” for his rival newsletter because it contained the first and last characters from the word “vegetarian” – signalling the beginning and the end of vegetarianism.
Readers of Watson’s newsletter suggested names such as “neo-vegetarian”, “dairyban”, and “vitan”, however, he chose to stick to his original name of the “The Vegan News”.
How Popular Is Veganism?
Veganism has been growing in popularity faster than vegetarianism for the past few years, with the Google trends chart showing a sizable difference in the number of people interested in the two topics.
This rise in popularity could, in part, be down to the rise of social media influencers promoting the vegan lifestyle, with over 82,000,000 posts for the # vegan on Instagram.
At the start of the year, the Economist concluded that 2019 was “the year of the vegan”, touching on the massive advances in creating meat-substitutes that look and taste like the real thing, after over 40,000 vegan steaks were sold in just a week!
Facts About Veganism
- Every day, vegans save over a thousand gallons of water. In a world where millions (if not billions!) of people still don’t have access to clean drinking water, it is outrageous to think that the meat industry wastes over 30% of the clean water supply. By becoming vegan, you help to reduce the amount of water that is used to crate animal produce.
- Vegans are less likely to develop diabetes. Type two diabetes is a massive problem in the US, with almost 10% of the population having some form of diabetes. Vegan diets are less likely to lead to the disease, helping to reduce the strain that it places on the medical system.
- Less likely to have heart issues. As well as reducing your chances of developing type two diabetes, vegans also have a lower chance of heart disease, according to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Veganism saves energy! Plant-based foods require more than 60% less energy to produce than meat & dairy, as well as using up much less physical room to grow.
- Vegans lose weight faster. If you’re trying to lose weight and the traditional tactics aren’t working for you, then a vegan diet may be the answer to all of your prayers. Studies have found that vegans are able to lose comparatively more weight than traditional diets containing animal produce.
- You smell better. According to a recent study, plant-based dieters produce better smelling sweat than those eating carbs. Just another of the many reasons why becoming a vegan is a good idea!
Why Become Vegan?
If the above hasn’t quite convinced you to become a vegan, then you may be interested to know more about the ethical benefits of becoming a vegan.
Besides the positive impact veganism can have on your physical health, it can also be great for your mental health. Knowing that you’re taking a stand against the traditional human diet and helping to save the environment is a great thing!
As well as requiring more than 60% less energy to produce, vegan foods also use a substantially smaller area of land to grow – meaning that the food production per meter is much, much higher. This allows farms to be much more space efficient, leaving more room for the rapidly growing population that are in need of somewhere to live.
Animal produce also wastes a colossal amount of food and water, which is especially concerning considering the fact that millions of people go hungry every day, and even more have no/ limited access to safe, running water. By becoming a vegan, you’re helping to lower the demand on animal produce, meaning that less food is wasted, more space is saved, and there is more clean water for those who need it.
Are There Any Risks to Becoming Vegan?
As with any diet, it’s important to pay attention to what you eat – ensuring that you are receiving the right amount of vitamins and nutrients. Staying educated on which foods contain the necessary vitamins is essential if you are going to become a vegan.
There are cases of people who have had vitamin deficiencies while following vegan diets (more so with athletes and people doing a large amount of exercise), however, this can be avoided by following a balanced vegan diet, as well as taking vitamin supplements where needed.
Hopefully you’ve learnt a little bit more about veganism today – from the origins of its name to the health and environmental benefits that it has.