The Vegan Diet and Lifestyle

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From cruelty free cosmetics to vegan restaurants, there is no doubt the vegan lifestyle and way of eating is gaining popularity. Everyone is trying to find the new diet plan, whether it be the paleo diet or raw food diet, which will make them lose the most amount of weight in the least amount of time. But the motive behind being vegan may be a little different. Other than trying to be skinnier, there are more reasons behind the vegan craze. Recently, Megan Vidovich, a student a POLAHS, shared why she is vegan.

“I became vegan for my health…  I enjoy knowing that no one is being murdered or hurt because of my lifestyle choices.” said Vidovich. “Veganism is not a diet, it is a lifestyle that saves animals everywhere.


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Label commonly found on vegan food

Veganism, as described by Merriam-Webster is “a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals; also : one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather).” On the Vegan Society’s website, they say that the avoidance of using animal products may date back over 2,000 years ago among the Greeks and 2,800 years ago with Buddhists. The term “vegan” wasn’t institutionalized until 1944 where 6 non-dairy vegetarians decided to meet up later creating the Vegan Society. In the words of Leslie J Cross, veganism is “to seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man.”


There are several benefits and drawbacks to the vegan diet. Christian Nordqvist, owner and writer of “Medical News Today” says vegan diets, naturally, do not contain animal fat which is linked to diabetes, hypertension, and various cancers. The vegan diet consists of high fiber intake and with the higher intake of fibrous foods, the likelihood of getting cancer is greatly decreased. Along with this antioxidant rich diet also comes a lower risk of chronic disease.

Along with several benefits, there are some disadvantages to this diet. Taking on this lifestyle could seriously lack B12, for heart health, calcium, for bone health, and overall calories necessary for daily function. Megan Ware, a dietitian nutritionist says: “In general, a vegan diet contains far more nutrients than the average American diet.”

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PETA stands for “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”

Yet the lifestyle of a vegan takes a different turn. As mentioned before, a “true vegan” believes the lives of animals equal to humans. PETA, an organization notable for the ethical treatment animal activism, is also a proponent for the vegan lifestyle. Their mission statement is “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abusin any other way.” In their story “How to Wear Vegan” they recommend wearing clothing with faux leather, synthetic materials, and cotton while avoiding leathers, wool, and silk. They also recommend buying vegan and cruelty free cosmetics.



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A common logo on cruelty free items

Cruelty free means that the products were tested on animals and vegan means none of the ingredients are animal products. PETA is also strongly against the use of animals for entertainment meaning they do not condone circuses, zoos, or horse drawn carriages. The use of animals in any way is not condoned by the vegan lifestyle. Yet this can be a challenge, remarks Vidovich. “Occasional slip ups when it comes to swearing off animal products are inevitable, but knowingly consuming animal products often is what lessens your ability to call yourself a vegan.”

Although this is a demanding lifestyle, it has its benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to be informed on the topic either way so you can understand both sides of the vegan diet argument.