The dictionary defines a “vegan” as:
vegan |ˈvēgən, ˈvejən|. noun. a person who does not eat or use animal products.
That seems pretty simple right? It is, but usually the next question lies in defining “animal products.” This means not consuming any products that contain the meat or byproducts of animals.
This blog is mainly geared toward dietary vegans, who do not consume any food products such as cheese, eggs, or butter. There are also people that I greatly admire called ethical vegans, however, who not only adhere to a vegan diet, but also do not purchase leather shoes or other products (e.g. shampoo or makeup) that could have been tested on animals or used animal ingredients.
Why be a vegan?
Most Western diets use meat as the mainstay of the dish. This is nutritionally unsound and, I believe, is partially the result of more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and 17% of children being obese. (CDC 2012) This not only takes a toll on the economy through rising health costs, but also on the environment as the production of meat requires 10 to 20 times more energy1 per edible tonne than grain production. Besides this, there are many health benefits associated with veganism, which has been proven to extend your life and reduce your chance for deadly diseases. For more health benefits and reasons, check out this post I made on top 10 reasons to go on a vegan diet.
1. Connections: Canadian Lifestyle Choices and the Environment. A State of the Environment fact sheet. No 95-1 (Ottawa: Environment Canada, 1995), p. 7.