As the idea of being a vegan becomes more and more mainstream, there have been a lot of positives that have come out of the movement for those who were early adopters.
Plant-based food alternatives have become more readily available, and many more cosmetics companies have joined the Beauty Without Cruelty movement. There is simply so much more choice available for vegans today than there was five or ten years ago.
However, there is also a downside to all of this. While more people are open to the idea of being a vegan, there are now more people who are claiming to be vegan or just a bit vegan. This is problematic because it can muddy the waters of what it actually means to be a vegan.
Plant-based diet versus a vegan lifestyle
As the rise of veganism makes its way into popular culture, there has also be a rise in the move towards eating a plant-based diet for health reasons or even as a fad diet to shed a few kilograms. A plant-based diet is great because, if done right, it is incredibly healthy for you and will likely result in weight loss in a controlled and positive manner.
It’s also applauded by vegans as though you’ve win big playing real money Bingo, as it has the knock-on effect of being good for the environment and less support for the systems that abuse and harm animals. However, simply changing your diet for health reasons does not make you a vegan.
Being a vegan isn’t just about not eating animals. It’s an entire lifestyle that comes with its own code of ethics and values. The idea of eating meat, using cosmetics that have been tested on animals or even wearing something made from an animal goes against that code.
Blogger Alice Oven put it really well when she said that if you call yourself a vegan, then you really need to be aware that you’re making a statement that is not simply about what you are going to put in your mouth, but about how you are trying to live your life.
The vegan commitment
For most people, when they hear the word vegan, they only think about the diet element. Grant Lingel of Sentient Media writes that by centring our diet at the soul of the conversation, we may well be doing a disservice to vegans. The word actually encompasses an entire way of living that is so much more than choosing to eat plants over animal products. It’s about always choosing to put the lives of animals first in everything they do.
This isn’t to say that vegans dislike people who choose a plant-based diet for other reasons. It’s a step in the right direction, even if it is done for different reasons to those of a vegan. It’s also a step towards a more sustainable future as the impact of the animal farming industry on the planet will slowly reduce as more people cut out meat – for whatever reason.