A few years back, veganism was only encouraged by either hippies or animal-right activists. Thirty years ago, going vegan was difficult because restaurants did not offer main course vegan dishes. But today, as we know that even KFC offers vegan fried chicken, with the rise of veganism, many restaurants have come up with new vegan dishes. Veganism has been adopted by more than 3.5 billion people worldwide and is continuously rising in popularity.
The History of the Rise of Veganism
Donald Watson, a member of the English Vegetarian Society, coined the term ‘Veganism.’ He created this term specifically for vegetarians who did not consume dairy products. By 1951 the definition of ‘Veganism’ had grown and was familiar to encompasses who revolted against the exploitation of animals.
Indians and other Meditternaen countries have been following non-dependency on animal flesh and by-products for centuries. Buddhists and Hinduism had brought about the concept of veganism, and Greek Philosophers like Pythagoras have also mentioned it.
In the late 20th Century, veganism had gained its reputation and was driven by animal rights concerns. There were protests against animal skin-use for making leather and exploitation of animals for testing products. Many brands and companies today do not promote testing of their products on animals and sell cruelty-free products. Veganism is now considered healthy and environmentally-friendly.
Why do people go vegan?
Going vegan is a personal choice of the individual, yet it can be categorized in a few fundamental ways that are not generally mutual.
Moral reasons –
Chiefly, animal rights are the reason for encouraging people to adopt veganism. It is ultimately the individual’s choice, and they often take this step as they believe that the killing of animals for human consumption is unethical.
Environmental reasons –
The second main reason veganism is gaining popularity is ecological issues like greenhouse gas emissions due to meat production. It is believed that if every person worldwide switched to plant-based living, by 2050, the green-house effect will effectively be reduced by 70%. But globally, accepting veganism is unrealistic. Environmental concern is one of the primary reasons for people to go vegan.
Health Benefits –
This is the most popular reason for choosing a vegan diet. According to studies, vegans and vegetarians have lower BMI than omnivores. Vegans have low chances of diabetes, cardiological issues, and it is also believed that vegans have soft cases of cancer. The National Center for Biotechnology also states that vegans have an advantage over non-vegetarians as a vegan diet protects against obesity, increased cholesterol, etc.
Accessibility of a Vegan Diet
A vegan diet does not mean just avoiding meat and animal products. But going vegan also means getting all the essential nutrients that we obtain from animal products. Living a vegan life is not easy, as your body needs good organic food and nutrients that are not available in vegetarian food, which makes veganism time-consuming and expensive.
Everyone cannot afford veganism. The socio-economic status of people plays a significant role in this. It is easy for western people who have a comfortable lifestyle and can afford a splurging diet.
Veganism is unrealistic for everyone to adapt as it is considered a luxury lifestyle. Even though everyone around is adopting a vegan diet, we cannot enforce a vegan diet as it is exorbitant.
We must also note that everything labeled as ‘vegan’ is not necessarily eco-friendly and healthy. Almond Milk and Soy Milk are popular substitutes for Dairy Milk. Those who are lactose-intolerant or are just trying to be healthier prefer Almond and Soy milk. But its production involves the use of gallons of water and is manufactured in drought-stricken California. So it ultimately is not eco-friendly.
Dairy Restrictions in Veganism
Veganism’s rise has been advantageous for people with various allergies as many dairy-free products with different flavors have come up in the market. According to studies, food allergies have risen, so the market has provided insurance for anaphylactic food reactions. These allergies develop in patients after the age of 18 and especially in females. The statistics barely include dietary needs like Gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance.
The rise of selective eating habits due to medical issues or diet trends leads to massive demand in the food market. Such requests are being fulfilled by food production brands making it readily available for people with special allergic needs and vegans.
The easy availability of vegan food supplements is another reason for the rise of Veganism in the mainstream.
Profit from Veganism
We all are aware of the Trend of Veganism without a doubt. There are more than 57 million #vegan and #cleaneating posts on Instagram and other famous social media applications encouraging people to eat healthy and cruelty-free food supplements. There substitutes for almost every product you can imagine, from Soy milk to cakes and chocolates that are gluten and dairy-free, which are merely available in your nearby grocery stores. Almost all the restaurants and hotels around the world provide a different vegan menu for people with restricted diets. Many restaurants offer only vegan or vegetarian food menus, which include gluten-free food appendices.
This is good news for not just vegans, but it is also very profitable for food-production companies. Companies see a considerable profit in making a gluten-free, dairy-free, cause of the trend of veganism, creating an easily accessible plant-based diet for people. Though the price range of these products is outrageous, people now have a variety of food supplements to meet their nutrition needs. Superfoods and vegan-supplements are at a peak in the market, and this trend is not coming to a stop anytime soon.
Future of Vegans and Veganism
As an increasing number of people choose a vegan diet, we can say that veganism will prevail over an omnivore diet in the future. Veganism was first an animal-rights movement which now has become a lifestyle that advocates feasible living with excellent and healthy nutrition properties. Considering the cross-overs and the increased production of vegan food appendices, we can state that Veganism will continue to grow, making healthy and nutritious food readily available in the market.
Veganism in the Mainstream
Instagram is a platform that plays a significant role in the growth of Veganism. As many celebrities and social media influencers promote veganism, more and more people are encouraged and try a vegan diet.
Vegan dishes are as appealing and tasty as non-vegan dishes. Famous chefs are now recreating plant-based vegan cookies, chocolates, pies, which are then introduced in the market and relished by vegan food-lovers. These creative meals are then posted on Instagram to learn new plant-based recipes and try them at home.
People now know what veganism is, and people no longer regard it to be unusual. Veganism now means not only eating healthy plant-based meals, but also it promotes cruelty-free cosmetics. Many brands like Sephora and Morphe have now stopped testing their products on animals and regard their products as cruelty-free products. Vegans strictly go for such products as the quality of such products is not only excellent, but they also do not harm any animals. Products like vegan shampoo, conditioner, makeup, lotions, soaps, etc., are readily accessible in the market.
Concluding this, we can say that veganism has not only helped people by providing a healthy plant-based diet, but it is also in the mainstream because it is profitable for business start-ups. Economists also declared 2019 ‘The Vegan Year.’
‘Vegunary’ is a non-profitable US-based organization that educates people about the benefits of a vegan diet and encourages people worldwide to raise their voices against animal manipulation for luxury products. In December 2020, over a hundred public figures, including many NGOs, signed a joint letter calling on people to fight against climate change and prevent future pandemics by changing their diet.