What Is Vegan?
According to Merriam-Webster’ s dictionary, the term Vegan means a person who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often also does not use animal products.
The term made its debut in 1944 by a man named Donald Watson.
In a nutshell, Vegans:
- omit products containing meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey, and gelatin from their diet,
- abstain from wearing animal products (i.e. leather, fur, wool, silk, etc.),
- renounce the use of products supported by the use of animals/ animal-testing, and
- refrain from activities/entertainment that involves the exploitation of animals (i.e. rodeos, carriage rides, circus’, zoos).
A Vegan diet is traditionally high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is also low in saturated fats and calories (in its natural, non-processed form). A Vegan diet has been linked to a reduced chance of developing heart disease, due to the diet’s reduction in the consumption of saturated fats, which we often find in animal products.
According to most Vegan experts/nutritionists, the only vitamin void in a strict, plant-based diet is B12, which is only found in an omnivore diet. B12 contributes to the release of energy from carbohydrates and fats. According to The Mayo Clinic, a diet deficient in B12 can cause megaloblastic anemia (enlarged red blood cells) and has been linked to abnormal mental symptoms, spasticity (stiff muscles), muscle weakness, incontinence, and vision problems.
As a precaution and at your discretion, those adopting a Vegan diet should take a B12 supplement.
As with any new diet, individuals should consult their doctor regarding supplements and its proper use and dosage.
Just For Fun…
Famous Vegans Past and Present (as of 2014):
Corretta Scott King
Carrie Anne Moss