27 April 2018

Interesting Facts About The Increasingly Popular Vegan Lifestyle

Veganism has been in the press non-stop over the past few years for reasons ranging from celebrities adopting the lifestyle to month-long campaigns being dedicated to the diet. It seems that as each day passes, the camps both for and against veganism grow their numbers, as great debates about the lifestyle rage on. Whether or not you are in agreement with the subject, none can deny that there has been a sudden surge and increase in popularity of meat-free living across the globe. Such a complex subject could never be completely covered within one web article; therefore, this short piece will cover a few interesting facts about veganism instead.

Image: Anna Pelzer via Unsplash
According to The Vegan Society, modern-day veganism as we know it was born in the UK during 1944, after Donald Watson a non-dairy vegetarian at the time coined the term. Watson took the word “vegetarian” and dissected it to create “vegan”, by merging first three and last two letters together. However, The Vegan Society also claim that there is evidence showing that even some people living over 2000 years ago chose to avoid animal products in their day to day living. The current definition of a vegan is somebody who does not eat or use animal products. These people are known as “Ethical Vegans”, although there are individuals out there who choose to follow the same way of eating for dietary reasons. As you may have guessed, these people are known as “Dietary Vegans”. Therefore, vegan food can be considered anything that is completely devoid of any ingredient that has been sourced from a living animal. Unlike vegetarianism that solely discounts the consumption of animals themselves; vegans choose not to eat products such as eggs, milk and even honey. It used to be a common thought that eating this way was a boring endeavour – but the public perception of plant-based food is starting to change.

Every day more vegan-friendly businesses are popping up everywhere from small neighbourhoods to big cities. There is also a new wave of restaurants emerging, run by innovative chefs who cook without any animal-derived products whatsoever, to create interesting dishes such as dairy-free “nice cream” to jerk tofu and vegan pizza. Due to the internet explosion of the lifestyle, with a quick Google search people can now find the best vegetarian restaurants and vegan eateries nearby in no time. Happycow.net, a website dedicated to helping assist travellers, named Berlin as the #1 vegan-friendly city in the world during 2017. According to the source, there are over 55 fully vegan restaurants in the landmark destination, with more than 320 vegetarian-friendly places to eat as well. The American city of Los Angeles came in at #2, whilst the #3 seat was taken by the Polish capital Warsaw.

Image: Brooke Lark via Unsplash
Helping grow the cause and demand for plant-based food is a number of celebrities who advocate the lifestyle for both ethical and dietary reasons. Past and present famous vegans include the likes of award-winning singer Beyoncé, pop-star Miley Cyrus, Hunger Games actor Chris Hemsworth, 30 Seconds To Mars frontman and actor Jared Leto, actress, singer and dancer Jeniffer Lopez, rapper Jay-Z and musician Moby. Many of these celebrities endorse their plant-based lifestyle via their social network feeds, whilst some such Leonardo DiCaprio even actively campaign for the cause. For example, DiCaprio produced the eye-opening documentary Cowspiracy, which many people have credited as being influential in their decision to go animal-product free.

Image: Epicurrence via Unsplash
Now, only time will tell how big the vegan movement will become. Some say it is here to stay, whilst others claim it to be the latest food fad that will soon be replaced by something new. What is for certain, though, is that at the time of writing, the lifestyle is still undeniably on the rise. This means it will be interesting to look back at the present day this time next year, just to see how much the vegan landscape has changed in that timeframe.